The Ondo State High Court in Akure on Thursday sentenced seven members of an armed robbery gang to death by hanging for killing a US-based businessman, Banji Adafin.
The seven robbers are to die by hanging after the court found them culpable for Adafin’s death.
Adafin was killed by the seven men on July 4, 2017, shortly after returning to Nigeria from the United States for vacation.
He was murdered at his Number 15 Temidire Street, Muyiwa Oni Avenue on Akure/Owo Road residence in cold blood in the presence of his wife, Abimbola.
The seven convicted persons are Blessing Ogunlade, John Omoniyi, Sodiq Babatunde, Akeem Adedayo, Oso John Omoniyi, Yomi Balogun, and Sodiq Babatunde.
These culprits were found guilty of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of firearms.
The court held that the offence of the seven culprits ran contrary to the robbery and Firearms Act, laws of the Federation (2004) and the Criminal Code, laws of Ondo state (2006).
The court also sentenced Damilola Samuel, best known as ‘Mama’, to one year in prison for aiding in her house incriminating materials.
Miss Damilola, girlfriend of one of the culprits, Blessing Ogunlade, was convicted for keeping two Samsung Plasma Televison sets, a Samsung Phone, a Techno Phone and electric pressing iron, which were all stolen from Adafin’s residence.
Olajiri Fadipe, a prosecutor and Department of State Services (DSS) official in charge of the murder case, said six of the culprits were actively involved in the robbery operation.
Fadipe noted that the seventh culprit only supplied firearms with no registered licence to do such.
Justice Samuel Bola, the trial Judge, held that the prosecuting counsel and DSS officials had proven the case beyond all reasonable doubt.
Bola, who read the Judgement for over four hours, concluded that the seven-man gang used gun to kill the deceased after robbing him of his valuables.
Grace Olowoporokun, a prosecuting counsel who stood in for the State Attorney-General, Mr Adekola Olawoye, added that the murder case shows that Judiciary is open to real justice.
In their reactions, defence counsel to the convicts, Abdulrahman Yusuf and Samuel Aiyesa, said they would appeal the judgement after a deep review.
Earlier in the court, Abimbola Adafin, wife of the deceased, had explained how the seven robbers invaded their residence in the dead of the night.
“I was inside the bedroom along with my late husband and daughter when I heard other occupants living with us in the house, Hannah Temitope (relative) and Deborah Petti (housemaid), suddenly scream, which forced me to rush out of the bedroom,” she said.
“By the time I came out of the room I saw that the two ladies were held at gunpoint by these armed robbers. Immediately, I panicked and ran back to the room, not knowing that more armed robbers had gained access inside the house through the kitchen.”