Killers of Afenifere Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti’s daughter, late Mrs. Funke Olakuri, have been sentenced to death by hanging by Ondo High Court, Akure, Ondo State.
The Court, however, discharged and quitted the fourth suspect.
The deceased, Olakunri, was killed in July 12, 2019 along Ore/Ijebu-Ode Road in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state when she was traveling to Lagos from Akure for a social function.
Her driver, Femi Ajayi, was kidnapped and released after he had spent seven days in their captivity.
Justice Williams Olamide convicted and sentenced Muhammed Shehu Usman, Mazaje Lawal and Adamu Adamu, to death by hanging for offences ranging from conspiracy to murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.
According to the prosecution, the same convicts attacked and killed a hunter identified as Matthew Ogunbiyi in the forest and took a German-Nigerian hostage, who was released after payment of ransom.
They were also charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery and actual commission of armed robbery contrary to Section 1 (2a&b) for the Robbery and Firearm Special Prohibition Act CAP R11, Volume 14, Laws of the Federation.
Besides, they were charged with conspiracy to commit felony to wit kidnapping, contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of Criminal Code CAP 37, Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Charles Titiloye, had levied eight-count charge against four suspects, listing them as aiding and abetting, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder.
The first to three suspects were charged with murder contrary to Section 316 and punishable under section 319 of the Criminal Code CAP 37 Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State, Nigeria, 2006.
The culprits pleaded not guilty to the eight charge counts against them. In the evidence before the court, the suspects said they were not part of the kidnapping gang that killed Olakunri, saying the police extracted false evidence against them.
Usman said he was a driver who was on transit to Ondo from Agbor, Delta State, when he was arrested with N500, 000 cash as well as expired drivers’ licence, and was charged because he couldn’t provide the bribe demanded by the police.
While Lawal argued that the police arrested him because he followed Usman to the police station because he understands Hausa Language.
He denied complicity in the murder of the Afenifere leader’s daughter.
Justice Olamide, in his verdict, however, faulted the claims of the suspects on the ground that their evidences were afterthought to escape the wrath of the law.
The court said the prosecution was able to prove the case of conspiracy to murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and aiding and abetting against the first to third defendants.
Consequently, the judge convicted them on the eight count charges while he discharged the fourth suspect, Awalu Abubakar, for conspiracy, aiding and abetting.
Justice Olamide ordered the convicts to die either by hanging on the murder counter, and added that they would spend the remaining part of their lives in prison for the offence of kidnapping.
He commiserated with the family of the victim and asked the government to urgently do something about cases of rape, kidnapping and murder, which have become recurring menace in different parts of the country.