Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
Two kingpins of a notorious cross border cattle rustling syndicate, Muhammed Laal Jauro and Yusuf Sanni, have been sentenced to death by hanging by the High Court of Kogi State sitting in Okene.
The two convicts were charged on Thursday before Hon. Justice Josia Majebi of the Okene division of the High Court of Justice on a four-count of criminal conspiracy to commit armed robbery, criminal conspiracy to commit criminal homicide and culpable homicide, all of which contravene sections of Penal Code.
Justice Majebi found the cattle rustlers guilty on all the four-count charge despite their plea of non-guilty to the offences.
The prosecution witnesses had told the court that sometime in January 2006, one Dauda Abdullahi made a report of the gruesome murder and theft of the cows of one Haruna in one of the farm centres in Okene.
He also told the court that upon further investigation, the accused persons were arrested at Ajase-Ikpo in Kwara State while their leader, Awaijo Wetti, was still at large as at the time of the prosecution.
He said the convicts admitted committing the offences together with the said leader when they narrated how they regrouped and subsequently macheted their victim to death in his farm and eventually stole his cows which they took to Ajase-Ikpo before they were apprehended.
The first accused person, Muhammed Lawal Jauroâ€™s confessional statement which was corroborated by the second, Yusuf Sanni, was relied upon by the court to arrive at its verdict.
They both stated how they and their other gang members conspired to commit the crime in December 2015.
Consequently, the court sentenced them to 28 years each on the first three counts and sentenced them to death by hanging on the fourth charges of culpable homicide.
â€œBy the said pieces of evidence, I hold that the prosecution has satisfactorily established the death of the deceased and that same was caused by the accused persons. I hold that the prosecution has proved all the ingredients of each of the heads of charge against the accused persons thereby raising presumption of guilt against them in respect of all the heads of charge.
â€œIt will amount to flying in the face of the evidence before the court to believe the story of the accused persons that they have no knowledge of the commission of the offences and the exhibits tendered except their handsets. To believe same is to believe the holiness of a Bishop hanging a talisman on his neck,â€ said Justice Majebi while pronouncing the courtâ€™s verdict.