An Ikeja Special Offences Court wednesday sentenced three men to death for kidnapping the Oniba of Iba, Lagos, Oba Yishau Goriola Oseni.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo found the convicts guilty of a seven-count charge brought against them by the state.
The convicts are Duba Furejo alias General Cuba, who is now paralysed, Reuben Anthony and Yerin Fresh.
Delivering judgment in the matter for over one hour, Justice Taiwo found the defendants guilty and convicted them of all the seven-count charge against them.
The offences bordered on conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.
“I believe the offence of conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and kidnapping as brought against them by the prosecution.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the defendants were involved in the crime.
“I also have no doubt that the defendants knew that their actions were to cause injuries by the gun shot by the defendants and also as proven by the prosecution.
“The prosecution has proved his case beyond reasonable doubt and I find the three defendants guilty as charged.
In his allocutus, defence counsel, Mr. G. O Eguaroje pleaded for mercy on behalf of the convicts.
He stated that the convicts were first-time offenders and that the judge should consider the fact in her pronouncement and not sentence them to death by hanging.
But in her reaction, the prosecutor and Solicitor General of Lagos State, Titilayo Shitta-Bey, urged the court to give maximum sentence commensurate with the offences committed by the convicts.
“A heinous crime of kidnapping does not only terrorise the victim but terrorise the society. Nobody is safe.
“A clear statement should be made that Lagos State has zero tolerance for kidnappers, murderers and robbers and that in Lagos you will be prosecuted and given maximum sentence if found guilty.
“Lagos is not a lawless society.A clear message needs to be sent to people who think they can get away with such crimes. Families of victims are made to look for ransom just to save their loved ones’ lives and this must be stopped”, she said.
Pronouncing the judgment in the matter, Justice Taiwo noted that kidnapping has become prevalent and that it has to be stopped.
She sentenced the convicts to a total of 153 years imprisonment in addition to life imprisonment and death sentence.
“For the offence of conspiracy, the convicts are hereby sentenced to ten years each; for causing the death of Sunday Okanlawon and Joseph Okeke, the guards, I sentenced each of the defendants to death; for attempted murder of Olori Abosede Goriola, life imprisonment each.
“Each of the convicts is sentenced to 10 years for conspiracy to commit kidnap; ten years each for conspiracy to commit armed robbery; life imprisonment each for armed robbery; and 21 years for kidnapping.
” This is the judgment of the court,” she said.
Reacting to the judgment of the court, Shitta-Bey said: “We appreciate this judgment and this would send a warning to like-minded persons that this is not acceptable in Lagos State as such crime don’t only affect the victims but also the society at large”.