An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, the state’s capital yesterday sentenced killers of Olufunke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader to death by hanging.
This is as the the apex-pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday lauded the Nigerian judiciary for finally bringing the killers of Olakunrin, to justice.
Olakunrin, who was 58 years old, was heading to Lagos from Akure, Ondo State, when suspected kidnappers targeted her vehicle in July 2019. In an attempt to escape, the attackers fired at her, and she died while being taken to hospital.
Those sentenced to death for her murder are Lawal Mazaje from Kogi Sate; Adamu Adamu from Adamawa State; and Mohammed Usman from Sokoto State.
The fourth defendant, Auwalu Abubakar from Zamfara State was however discharged and acquitted.
The defendants were arraigned on counts of armed robbery, conspiracy, conspiracy to commit felony, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, kidnapping, murder, aiding and abetting.
Justice Williams Rotimi Olamide, held in his judgment that prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, thus, sentenced the three defendants to death by hanging.
He noted that the defendants also committed an offence contrary and punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37, Vol. 1, Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006.
The prosecution counsel and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Charles Titiloye, in his reaction expressed satisfaction with the judgement.
Titiloye said, “the court has found three of the defendants guilty, it has become very clear that the three persons conspired to commit armed robbery, murder and killing of the lady and a hunter who was in the bush when they were trying to take away those in the vehicle that was conveying Mrs. Olakunri.
“There was thorough investigation that spanned through three different states of the federation, Edo, Lagos and Ondo. Cogent evidence were given by the person who was in the forest with them for seven days, particularly, the driver of the deceased who was kidnapped for seven days.”
While the counsel to the second and fourth defendants, Obafemi Bawa said he will study the judgement and possibly appeal it.
“You could see that one of the defendants was discharged by the judgement of the court court. We are going to take a critical look at it, look at areas where appeal can be formulated,” Obafemi said.
Reacting to the judgement, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Comrade Jare Ajayi, in a statement said the judgement was an indication that justice can be adroitly dispensed in Nigeria if the judiciary is allowed to function unfettered.
Ajayi commended the Police Force for diligently investigating and prosecuting the case, while also lauding the Ondo State Government and the judiciary for their diligence in handling the case.
According to him, “The diligent prosecution and final resolution of the case will go a long way in rekindling the confidence of the public in the judiciary.”
He added that Afenifere hoped that this sort of diligence but effective process would be brought to bear in all other cases in such a manner that justice would be truly and promptly dispensed without regard to the status or inclinations of those involved.
Ajayi maintained that the excitement that the verdict elicited was not necessarily because the culprits are going to die, stating that it was in the fact that at last those who killed are going to pay the supreme prices as well.
“It is a clear proof that no matter how long it takes; the day of reckoning will certainly come for evil-doers as those who operate in the dark lane never have good endings,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the authorities will prevent the acts of terrorism and murder by stepping up security in the country and allow state police to be formed by states that are desired to do so.
“For, if there are states’ and local governments’ police system in Nigeria, the extent of terrorism and sundry crimes would not as much as it is presently,” he added.
Culled from THISDAY