James Sowole in Akure
The Ondo State High Court 9, sitting in Akure, the state capital, has sentenced a 32 year-old man, Akinola Michael to life imprisonment over the kidnap of one Mrs. Adeyeye Ehizogie on December 5, 2015 in Owo Local Government Area of the State.
Akinola Michael was sentenced to life imprisonment over three-count charge of conspiracy, aiding and abetting kidnapping.
The court which was presided over by Justice Williams Rotimi Olamide held that the mere fact that the victim identified the accused as the person feeding her in the forest while in the custody of kidnapping gang has the weight to determine judicial decisions.
The Judge noted that at the conclusion of trial-within-trial, the court overruled the objection by defence counsel charging the court to dismiss the case.
Justice Olamide pointed out that there were three ways to prove a case, noting that it could be by direct eye witness evidence, by circumstantial evidence and by confessional statement.
The Judge read that the accused was arrested through phone tracking by the police, thereby linking him to the kidnapping.
He however, added that efforts by Police to arrest other members of the gang proved abortive.
Justice Olamide convicted the accused of the offence of conspiracy, aiding and abetting kidnapping, charged under the Anti-kidnapping Law of Ondo State 2010 and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
In her reaction, the Director of Public Prosecution, Olowoporoku Grace said the judgment will ultimately serve as deterrent to others, stressing that all hands are on deck to ensure that there is no hiding place for kidnappers and other criminals in Ondo State.
Justice Olamide had in April 2017 sentenced seven men who were involved in the kidnap of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, to life imprisonment.
The seven men were found guilty of kidnapping the elder statesman in his farm in Ilado Village, Akure North Local Government Area of the state in September, 2015.
In his judgment, Olamide had held that the seven accused persons were guilty of the kidnapping charge brought against them by the Ondo State Government.
He said the recovered ransom, call logs, and identification of the suspects by Falae himself, indicted the convicts of complicity in the crime and subsequently sentenced them to Olokuta prison, Akure for life, without an option of a fine.
He however discharged them of two of the counts, conspiracy and armed robbery.