By Victor Ogunje
An Ekiti State High Court in Ado Ekiti has sentenced an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Akubo Abiye, and his mechanic, Ibrahim Afolabi, to life imprisonment for receiving stolen vehicle.
Seven other persons, including one Solomon Ayodele Obamoyegun, 39; Femi Omiawe, 40; Damilola Obamoyegun 20; Bose Sade Ajayi, 30; George Lucky, 35; Chukwuma Nnamani, 22, and Sunday Ogunleye, 45, were jailed for five years each without any option of fine for kidnapping.
In his judgement, Justice John Adeyeye said: “I found the two of you guilty of receiving stolen vehicle. All evidence pointed to the fact that you were aware that the car was stolen. You are hereby sentenced to life imprisonment for the offence.”
In their testimonies, the investigating police officers said the car was tracked to the compound of ACP Abiye, who, on interrogation, confessed that he bought the Hilux van from his mechanic, who received it from the kidnappers.
The offence runs contrary to sections 346(2), 1(2)a, and section 5 of the Criminal Code Cap C16 laws of Ekiti State 2012, and robbery and firearms special provisions Act, Cap R11, laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
To prove his case, the prosecutor, Felix Awoniyi, called seven witnesses while exhibit tendered included statements of the accused persons and bond to release the van to the owner.
On the case of kidnapping preferred against the nine accused persons, they spoke in their own defence through their counsel, who promised to study the verdict and take necessary step.
“Kidnapping people for ransom is very rampart in not only the state, but in Nigeria. The court will be failing in its duty to protect the members of the society if adequate punishment is not given to the accused persons,” he said.
According to the charge sheet, the act was committed on or about May 9 to 19, 2005, at the GRA in Ado Ekiti, when the first to seventh accused persons armed with guns to kidnap one Moses Ajogri, 40, and robbed him of his Toyota Hilux van with registration no: APP 509 BK.