An Osun State High Court, sitting in Iwo, Monday, sentenced five persons standing trial for kidnapping the wife of the state House of Assembly Speaker, Alhaja Muibat Salaam, to a total of 135 years in imprisonment.
Each of the five accused persons facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms, was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment by Justice Moshood Adeigbe.
The convicts are Chukwudi Okereke,40, 25-year-old Ogbole Ochijile Elijah, 33-year-old Okonkwo Lucky, 35-year-old Kaikine Mahah, and Nwadinnor Philip, 30.
The convicts were said to have conspired while armed with AK 47 to kidnap Salaam, who was returning from her shop in her Honda Accord car with number plate OSHA02 at about 8pm, around Oke-Oyo Road in Ejigbo, Osun State on October 9, 2012.
During their trial, the prosecution led by the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adewale Afolabi, said the convicts had confessed to the kidnapping of the speaker’s wife in their individual statements to the police during investigations.
Justice Adeigbe in his judgement noted that the prosecution had been able to establish its case against the defendants, stressing that “the confessional statements were clear that the accused persons met at Royal Hotel in Agbor, Delta State, where they planned the kidnap, perfected it in Lagos and carried it out in Ejigbo.”
“The exhibits also showed that the five accused persons kidnapped the PW2 (Mrs. Salaam), forced her into a trailer and dragged her into the bush on their way to Lagos before the Ogun State Police Command arrested them. I hold that the prosecution have established their case and therefore found the five accused persons guilty of conspiracy, kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms,” he said.
Here is a breakdown of Justice Adeigbe’s judgement: each of the five convicts was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the charge of conspiracy; 10 years imprisonment for the charge of kidnapping and another 10 years for the charge of unlawful possession of firearms.
Each term of the sentence, according to Adeigbe, should run concurrently since the counts arose out of the charges of the same Act.
The defence counsel, Sam George and Fredrick Komolafe, who knew they had no case to argue had prayed the court to temper justice with mercy because the accused persons are married men with children.
Justice Adeigbe however, ignored the plea, saying the five convicts deserve the full punishment for their ‘heartless and condemnable’ offence.
Counsel to Elijah, Lucky and Philip, Fredrick Komolafe, who spoke to newsmen after the court proceeding, said they were going to appeal the judgment because his clients were found guilty based on their ‘untested’ confessional statements.