Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olu Falae has expressed great satisfaction on the judgement that was passed on his abductors by an Ondo State High Court, Akure Division,on Monday.
Mr. Falae who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on the judgement, describing it as necessary to stamp out the menace of kidnapping.
Justice Williams Olamide found the accused guilty of the act committed in 2015 as charged by the Ondo State government.
Mr. Falae was taken captive by the herdsmen on September 21, 2015 during his 77th birthday.
He was released four days later after paying about N5 million as ransom.
The convicts are Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibrahim, Masahudu Muhammed, and Idris Lawal. Two others were convicted in absentia.
The judge stated that the recovered ransom, call logs and identification of the suspects by Mr. Falae indicted them of complicity in the crime.
He subsequently sentenced them to life imprisonment without an option of fine
The Nigeria Police Force, Ondo State Command, had arraigned the convicts for kidnap in October 2015, disclosing that two others were at large.
At their arraignment, all five pleaded not guilty to the five-count charge.
The charge reads: “That you, Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed, Idris Lawal and others now at large, on or about Monday, September 21, 2015 at Kajola/Eyinala Community in Akure Judicial Division did give information for the purpose of kidnapping and abducting Chief Samuel Oluyemi Falae.
“Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed and Idris Lawal, and others now at large, on or about Monday, September 21, 2015 at Kajola/Eyinala Community in Akure Judicial Division did Kidnap Chief Oluyemi Falae, the Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and did not release him until N5,000,000 ransom was paid.
“Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed and Idris Lawal, and others now at large, on or about Monday, September 21, 2015 at Kajola/Eyinala Community in Akure Judicial Division did conspire to commit a felony to wit armed robbery.
“Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed and Idris Lawal, and others now at large, on or about Monday, September 21, 2015 at Kajola/Eyinala Community in Akure Judicial Division did rob Chief Olu Falae of N15, 000 and his handset while armed with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons.”
The offence, according to the Director of Public Prosecution, Adeyemi Kuti, contravenes various Nigerian laws.
Speaking on the judgment, Mrs. Kuti, who was the prosecution counsel, hailed the judgment, saying that justice had been given to the victim as far as the case was concerned.
But the defence counsel, Abdulrahman Yusuf, who is from the Legal Aid Council, said he would need to obtain the judgment, study it, and know whether to appeal the judgement or not.
In his reaction, Mr. Falae hailed the life sentence handed down to five of the kidnappers, saying the police should go after those at large.
“I think the police should not close the case, because so many of them are still at large,” Mr. Falae told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday.
“The police should go after them and ensure they are brought to justice.”
He also said that the sentence was appropriate as he was opposed to capital punishment.
“No one should take anybody’s life, not even the state,” Mr. Falae said. “Such criminals should be put away in prison for life.”
Recounting his ordeal at the hands of the kidnappers, Mr. Falae said: “The boys put me through a terrible time.
“They starved me and threatened me with their swords, they tore my clothes and made me walk long distances for four days.
“I thank God I did not die during the period, it was a harrowing experience.”
The politician, who is also the leader of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, said it was the business of the security agencies to stamp out kidnapping from the country.
He said Monday’s judgment should encourage security agencies to go after other kidnappers across the country.
“The country is becoming one of the most unsafe countries of the world,” he said.
“These kidnappers will stop a vehicle on the highway and abduct the passengers, and this is becoming rampant.
“We have investors coming into the country, they won’t come if we don’t do something about this.”
Source: ( Premium Times )