By Demola Atobaba, Ado-Ekiti
Justice Adekunle Adeleye of Ekiti State High Court, sitting in Ado-Ekiti, has sentenced four persons namely; Sunday Aernana (30), Jonathan Elijah (19), Aofa Sule Obasanjo (30) and Moses Iorna (24) to death by hanging for conspiracy, murder and attempt to murder.
The defendants were arraigned on three count charge of conspiracy, murder and attempt to murder before Justice Adekunle Adeleye on 31st August, 2020.
The charge reads that, the defendants on 5th April, 2020 at Iyemero Ekiti in Ikole LGA of Ekiti State, did conspire to murder Chief Sola Fatunla and also attempted to murder one Adebo Tadeni.
The offences contravened Sections 516, 316 and 320 of the Criminal Code Cap. C16, Laws of Ekiti State of Nigeria, 2012.
In her testimony before the court, an eyewitness, Adebo Tadeni said, I got married to the 1st defendant with children, I left him due to frequent misunderstanding between us but he later came to apologize and promised to be a changed person.
Sometime ago, he alleged me of having affairs with Chief Sola Fatunla, he threatened to kill both of us if ever he sees us together again, the matter was reported at the Police Station, he was arrested but he begged for forgiveness, he wrote an undertaking to be a good boy to the Chief.
On the fateful day, he lured me and the deceased to a farm at Iyemero-Ekiti, in pretence to help him settle a rift between him and one Ebira man, on getting to the farm, we met other defendants drinking hot gin, they seized my phone and Chief Sola Fatunla’s phones, he ordered them to start beating us with cutlass, they later tied him on a tree, I was taken to a nearby location where I was watching them and also tied me on a tree, Sule Obasanjo broke the gin bottle on Chief Sola Fatunla’s forehead and he became unconscious, he wet him with petrol and set him ablaze. But I escaped from where I was tied and ran away.
I went to report the matter at the Police station, thereafter, the defendants were arrested in Kwara State while trying to escape, she concluded.
To prove his case, the prosecutor, Barrister Julius Ajibare called six witnesses and tendered defendant’s statements, photographs of the deceased burnt body, medical report among others as exhibits.
The defendants spoke in their own defense through their counsels, Paul Akomolafe and Stanley Okonkwo, they called no witness.
In his judgment, Justice Adekunle Adeleye said, in the circumstance, the prosecution established through evidence, the intention of 1st-4th defendants to commit the offence of murder and attempt to murder.
On the whole, the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the first, second, third and fourth defendants conspired together to commit felony to wit; Murder and attempt to murder on 5th August, 2020.
This is contrary to Sec. 516, 316 and 320 of the Criminal Code Cap. C16, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.
Each of the first, second, third and fourth defendants are hereby sentenced to 7 years imprisonment each on count 1 (conspiracy) Death by hanging on count 2 (murder) and life imprisonment on count 3 (attempt to murder), the judge ruled.