Seven persons were, yesterday, sentenced to death by an Akure High Court for the murder of an US-based businessman, Banji Adafin, in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The deceased was in Nigeria for holidays with members of his family, when his life was cut short by the robbers in the presence of his wife and child on Temidire Street, Muyiwa Oni Avenue along Akure/Owo Expressway. His family heaved a sigh of relief after the judgment was delivered on the case after over a year in court.
The deceased and his wife, Funmi, ran into their bedroom on arrival of the convicts at about 8:30p.m. on July 31, 2017. But two of the robbers climbed the ceiling and shot the deceased. The convicts were arrested by officials of the Department of State Services, DSS, at different locations within and outside the state, even as one of them hid inside a plastic filled with water to evade arrest.
Delivering judgment, Justice Ademola Bola said those convicted for murder and armed robbery that would be killed by hanging and firing squad included an Okada operator, Jimoh Sodiq, alias Akamo; Blessing Ogunlade, Yomi Balogun alias Regal, Akeem Adedayo, Oso John Omoniyi, alias Bosco and Sodiq Babatunde. Jimoh Sodiq, whose mother sells fish in the neighbourhood, informed his gang of the arrival of the deceased from America and the need to rob him of some dollars. The eight accused person, who is the girlfriend of one of the convicts, Damilola Samuel, alias Mama, was sentenced to one-year imprisonment for serving as the armourer to the gang, contrary to Section 10 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 vol 1 Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria.
The charges preferred against the convicts included conspiracy to commit armed robbery contrary to and punishable under Section 6(b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision)Act cap R11 Volume 14 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Apart from killing the US-based businessman, the accused also stole N33,000 and other valuables in his residence. Some of the items stolen included an i-Pad, phones belonging to the deceased and their housemaid Deborah, television sets, laptops, and a huge amount of money. The judge said the convicts were also found guilty of aiding and abetting contrary to and punishable under Sections 6 of the Robbery and Firearms Special Provision Act Cap R11 Vol 14 Laws of the Federation.
Also, Justice Bola found them culpable in illegal dealing in arms and ammunition contrary to Section 9 and punishable under Sections 271(1)(b) of the Firearms Act, Cap F26 Laws of the Federation.