An Ikeja High Court on Thursday sentenced four men to death by hanging for armed robbery.
The convicts are Victor Chukwunonso, Ifeanyi Maduaka, Obinna Nwankwo and Richard Nwabueze.
The court found them guilty of armed robbery and kidnap of Mrs Gloria Emole, the younger sister of the Managing Director of Emzor Pharmaceutical Company, Chief Ebuka Okafor.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo held that the prosecution proved the charges of conspiracy, robbery and kidnapping against the convicts beyond all reasonable doubt.
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Lawal-Akapo said: “The first defendant was arrested after the IMEI number of the victim’s Nokia phone which got lost, was inserted into another phone and it brought out all the information.
“He made a confessional statement that led to the arrest of the second defendant. I have tested the statement and it passed all conditions.
“The confessional statement that the first defendant worked with the victim’s elder brother was collaborated by other witnesses.
”I rely on the confessional statement, and the guilt of the accused persons has been established.”
Lawal-Akapo said that prosecution established the offences of conspiracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping against the convicts.
”I have listened to all the allocutus by all the counsel but these are able young men who have unleashed terror on people, and they must therefore face the music.
“The defendants are sentenced to 10 years jail term each for the first count, conspiracy.
“They are also hereby sentenced to death by hanging for the second count of armed robbery, and consequently sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment for the third count, kidnapping.”
NAN reports that defence counsel, Mrs Helen Ibeji, Mr S.P. Okeke and Mrs Scholastical Nwogu, in their allocutus, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, saying that the defendants were first-time offenders who had learnt their lessons.
Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Dr Babajide Martins, however, urged the court to convict and sentence the defendants in accordance with the law.
“My lord, kidnapping and armed robbery are capital offences.
“The victim was very lucky to be alive as the offences the convicts committed were premeditated.
“I urge the court to sentence them accordingly,” Martin said.
NAN reports that the defendants committed the offences at 8.30 a.m. on Nov. 19, 2012, on Unity Close, Ogudu, Lagos State
They were arraigned on July 13, 2013.
The defendants had been in prison custody.
The prosecution submitted that the first convict was a former employee of the victim’s elder brother who was sacked after he fought.
Prosecution told the court that the defendants kidnapped the victim when she was about to leave her residence.
Martins said that the victim was kidnapped, blindfolded, thrown inside the booth of a car and and driven to an unknown area in Ikorodu, Lagos.
He said that the victim was later released on Nov. 22, 2012, after a ransom of 70,000 dollars was paid by her husband.
During the trial, prosecution called four witnesses, who testified against the defendants.
The offences contravene Sections 297, 285 (2) and 291 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.