Justice Raliatu Adebiyi of an Ikeja High Court has sentenced to death, Prince Adewale Oyekan, the son of the late Oba of Lagos, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, for the murder of Alhaja Sikirat Ekun, a 62-year-old businesswoman and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Prince Oyekan, 50, was sentenced to death alongside Lateef Balogun, 27, a former domestic staff of the deceased, who was hired for N6,000 to carry out the murder of his employer.
The convicts who have been in custody for seven years, murdered Ekun by strangling her and throwing her corpse into a 1,000-feet well located in her home.
Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice Adebiyi held that the prosecution has proved the charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder beyond reasonable doubt.
“The circumstantial evidence was strong and cogent, the act of the defendants in killing the deceased was intentional and premeditated.
“The court finds that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the offence of conspiracy and murder and are accordingly found guilty of the two-count charge.
“Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011 stipulates the punishment for the offence of murder as follows. Subject to the provisions of any other law, a person who commits the offence of murder shall be sentenced to death.
“Same is the punishment for conspiracy to commit murder as contained in Section 231 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
“The above-cited provisions of the law does not give the court any discretion whatsoever in sentencing the defendants.
“For this reason, the first and second defendants are hereby sentenced accordingly on each of count one and two to death by hanging. May God the giver of life have mercy on your soul.”
The state prosecution led by Mr. Akin George had said the convicts committed the offences at 1a.m. on Oct. 17, 2012 at the home of the deceased located at No. 5, Babatunde Lalega St., Omole Phase One, Lagos.
According to the prosecution, the deceased was a restaurateur who knew Oyekan due to her friendship with his late mother.
To render assistance to the prince, Ekun employed him as the manager of her restaurant.
“Balogun, the second defendant, was a former domestic staff of Ekun who was employed by her to take care of her elderly father. His employment was however terminated following a dispute with Ekun.
“The convicts conspired, killed the deceased and threw her corpse in a well within the premises of her home and took over her businesses and property, including her bus, which was sold for N170,000.
“When any enquiry was made by family and friends about her whereabouts, Oyekan informed them that she had traveled to Abuja for the Ileya (Id el Kabir) festival. He passed this information by sending a text message from Ekun’s mobile phone.
“Following panic and worry from members of Ekun’s family and after an extensive search, her corpse was found two months later in December 2012 by well diggers and fire fighters.
“The convicts had placed a generator, a gas cylinder and other household items on the corpse to conceal it in the 1,000 feet well,” he said.
The trial at the High Court began on April 14, 2015, five witnesses including police officers, Mr. Iyiola Olaniyi, the nephew of the deceased and Mrs. Folashade Amurun, the only child of the deceased, testified on behalf of the prosecution.
Oyekan and Balogun, testified in their defence, while testifying, the convicts both denied knowing each other, noting that they met for the first time at the police station. They also denied committing the offence.
Oyekan in his evidence said that he met Ekun who was a friend of his mother at a PDP rally in 2011 after he had returned from the United States of America after obtaining a degree in architecture.
He said he met the deceased thereafter at her home where she offered to assist him by employing him to manage her restaurant.