An Ikeja high court has convicted two men over the death of seven officers of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Hakeem Oshodi, presiding judge, sentenced Clement Ododomu to death by hanging and Tiwei Monday to 16 years in prison.
The convicts were said to have committed the offences on September 14, 2015, in Ishawo Creek, Ikorodu, Lagos.
They were arraigned on a 10-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit murder, murder and illegal possession of firearms, contrary to section 223 and 298 (3) of the criminal law of Lagos state, 2015.
The Lagos state government had submitted that DSS received a distress call from an editor of Sun newspaper (name withheld) on September 14, 2015, about the kidnap of his wife at their residence.
It was said that the state command of the DSS dispatched a nine-man team to carry out surveillance to ascertain the location of the kidnappers who were negotiating for a ransom.
In the evening of that day, Martins Ajayi, one of the officers in the team, sent a distress text message to the command headquarters saying that the men had been ambushed by vandals and their weapons seized.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the crime while submitting that they were in Lagos to attend the burial of their grandmother.
But in the judgment, Oshodi held that the defence failed to provide essential witnesses to corroborate the claim.
The judge also noted that the defendants did not show remorse for their crimes.
“The court has considered the allocutus of the defence counsel, but the position of the law is binding to us all,” the judge said.
“As noted, the first defendant was convicted on counts one, five, seven, nine and ten, while the second defendant was convicted on counts one and ten.”
He held that the prosecution was not able to prove that the second defendant was guilty of murder.
Oshodi said that evidence before the court showed that it was one Agbala and the first defendant who killed the operatives.
He held that the prosecution was able to prove that the two defendants participated in the ambush of the operatives.
He discharged and acquitted the convicts on counts two, three, four, six and eight because the prosecution was unable to prove the allegations against them.
“The court has observed the demeanour of the defendants and came to the conclusion that they felt no remorse with regard to the allegations they were facing,” Oshodi said.
“They informed the court that they do not understand English language, whereas, in the recording, they both were conversing in English.
“The first and second defendants are hereby sentenced to imprisonment for 14 years for count 10 and the first and second defendants are hereby sentenced to imprisonment for two years for count 9.
“The first defendant is hereby sentenced to imprisonment for 20 years. The terms of imprisonment for both defendants will run concurrently.
“For count five and seven, which the court has found the first defendant guilty, the sentence of the court upon you is that you be hanged by the neck until you be dead and may God have mercy on your soul.”
By Bolanle Olabimtan
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