Court Convicts Pipeline Vandals Charged With Killing Seven DSS Officers

The Lagos State High Court sitting in the Ikeja area has convicted two members of a group of pipeline vandals for the 2015 murder of seven operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) in the Ishawo area of Ikorodu.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi in his judgment held that the prosecution proved the offence of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, and possession of firearms with intent to commit a felony against the first defendant, Clement Ododomu, while the second defendant, Tiwei Monday was convicted for conspiracy to commit murder and failure to report a felony.

The offences are contrary to Sections 223 and 298 (3) of the Criminal Law, Cap. C. A Vol. 3, laws of Lagos State 2015.

The court, however, adjourned the sentencing of the convicts to Nov. 14th.

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The prosecution had told the court that in Sept. 2015, the DSS received a distress call about an alleged kidnap. They subsequently despatched a nine-man rescue team.

Saheed Adetunji, an investigation officer with the DSS told the court during the course of the trial that seven out of the nine-man rescue team were ambushed by the vandals in the Ishawo area and taken captive. The remaining two managed to escape.

“The first defendant said that they took the seven DSS personnel to their hideout, into the Ishawo Creeks, called Barracks,” Adetunji said.

The officer also identified the 2nd defendant, Monday, who confessed that he was a part of the group of vandals who used teargas and pepper spray on the DSS personnel.

“When they got to their Barracks, the first defendant said he personally shot two of the DSS personnel with a pump-action rifle, while one Agbala shot the remaining five with an AK-47.

“The dead bodies were buried in three separate graves. The first defendant said that the graves were dug by some Ijaw boys and three slim operatives were packed in one. And the bigger ones were put in twos into the other graves,” he stated.

And though the defendants pleaded guilty and denied committing the offence during their trial, Justice Oshodi in his judgment, held that the prosecution was able to prove part of the charge against the two convicts beyond all reasonable doubt.

The judge also rejected the alibi of the defendants, describing it as a ruse and an afterthought as there was no credible evidence to back up their claims of being at different places when the offence was committed.

He further held that their attempts to deny their confessional statement were not convincing and that evidence before the court confirmed that their statements were made voluntarily.

The Director of Public Prosecution, DPP has urged the court to impose the maximum sentence on the defendants to send a strong message that the state will not tolerate the killing of anyone particularly officers on lawful duty. He also used the opportunity to reiterate the call for the DSS to fish out one Agbala who was said to have shot five of their officers.