A High court sitting in Akure , the Ondo state capital has sentenced a man, Yahaya Bashiru to death by hanging after he was found guilty of robbery and illegal possession of firearms.
Justice S.A Bola, who delivered the judgement, also set free another accomplice Idowu Femi as he was discharged and acquitted for lack of evidence by the prosecution.
The prosecution told the court that following information dated March 30, 2017, the duo of Yahaya Bashiru and Idowu Femi were brought before the high court on charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, on two separate occasions and illegal possession of firearms and stealing.
Stating the particulars of their offence, the judge read that after conspiring to commit the felony, the duo had in December 2015, in Akure robbed one Mrs. Bukola Ademola of her valuables and money amounting to about 100, 000 naira while another occasion also stole her generating set.
When their plea was taken, the two men pleaded not guilty to the five count charges preferred against them by the prosecution.
The complainant while testifying before the court said that she was coming from her shop around 9 p.m. on the fateful day when she observed a motorcycle with two men on her trail ..
She said that when she went to open the gate of her house, the two men jumped into her car and took her bag which contained her phone and the proceeds from the day’s sales which she had not counted as well as her child’s bag.
She said that her husband who could have rescued her had a spinal cord injury and was inside the house at the time.
She also told the court that she shouted for help and attracted other residents in the neighbourhood who came to apprehend the armed robbers adding that the first defendant in the process shot into the air and threatened to shoot anyone who tried to stop them.
The first defendant she said was the motorcyclist and had a face cap on, she could recognize him with the noticeable scar on his face as they had their security light on which made the scene to be well illuminated. She however confessed that she did not see the face of the second man.
She testified that the same gang had attacked her before.
According to the police witness, Olakanmi Otadokun, following the report of the victim at the Ala police station, the police started investigation through the stolen phone while its network provider had led them to the arrest of the first defendant around Ijoka road area, Akure, where they apprehended him with a gun in his bag.
The investigative police officer (IPO) also testified that it was the confessional statement of the first accused person that had led them to the second accused person and that the second accused person denied committing the crime.
The second defendant, Femi Idowu, claimed that he was a bricklayer and was neither an armed robber nor did he possess a gun.
Delivering judgement, Justice Bola said from the evidence the first defendant was part of the gang that attacked the woman.
The forensic analysis which led the police to the first defendant also proved that indeed he took part in the armed robbery and was found guilty of conspiracy, armed robbery and illegal possession of firearms, he also said.
However, he said that the prosecution had failed to provide any evidence linking the defendants to the stealing of the generating set and has no concrete evidence linking the second defendant to the commission of the crimes listed in the particulars of offence.
On the issue of the first defendant, he held that the prosecution has not been able to prove the ingredients in the charges against him, while he wondered why the defendant would also go about with a gun in his bag without being a member of any security agency as the police witness had testified that he had a gun in his bag when he was apprehended.
The defense counsel, Abdurrahman Yusuf of the Legal Aid Council urged the court to temper justice with mercy as his client was a first offender who has aged parents and has been remorseful when he was in the prison custody.
Not heeding the counsel’s plea, the judge sentenced him to death by hanging while he discharged and acquitted the second defendant.