Seven young men have been sentenced to death by hanging by an Ondo State High Court in Akure on Thursday for the gruesome murder of a United States of America- based returnee, Mr Banji Adafin.
The convicted gunmen were said to have invaded the residence of the deceased at No. 5 Temidire Street, Muyiwa Oni Avenue along Akure/Owo Expressway residence, Akure, Ondo State on July 4, 2017.
The seven men found culpable in the death of Adafin are Jimoh Sodiq, a.k.a Akamo, Blessing Ogunlade, Yomi Balogun, a.k.a Regal, Oluwaseun Oluwalola, a.k.a Iyan, Akeem Adedayo, Oso John Omoniyi, a.k.a Bosco and Sodiq Babatunde.
They were found guilty of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit murder and for illegal possession of firearms.
Delivering his judgement that lasted four hours, Justice Samuel Bola held that the prosecuting lawyer and officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the seven young men robbed and used gun to kill the deceased.
According to Justice Bola, the condemned criminals committed the offences in 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 to one-year imprisonment, the eighth offender, Damilola Samuel, a.k.a Mama, who was the girlfriend of one of the convicts for allegedly aiding and keeping incriminating materials.
The wife of the deceased, Abimbola Adafin, while recounting her experience before the court, narrated how the armed robbers invaded their residence.
She said, “l was inside the bedroom with my husband and daughter when l heard Hannah Temitope (a relative) and Deborah Petti (a housemaid) suddenly scream at the top of their lungs which made me rush out of the bedroom to the living room.
“When I got to the sitting room, I saw why the two women screamed. They were held at gunpoint by two armed robbers.
“When I saw the armed robbers, I panicked and ran back to the room. Unknown to me, the armed robbers had gained access inside the house through the kitchen door.”
She also revealed that the armed robbers took away 2 Samsung plasma television sets, her husband’s Samsung phone, one techno phone and an electric pressing iron.
According to the prosecutor, DSS official, Olajiri Fadipe, while six of them were involved in the armed robbery, the seventh accused person had supplied the firearms which had no registered licence to do such and the female among them, Damilola Samuel, a.k.a Mama, was alleged to have aided in removing the plasma television, laptops and other incriminating materials suspected to be stolen goods from the residence of the 2nd defendant, Blessing Ogunlade.
Justice Bola further held that the capital punishments would run concurrently.
Reacting, lawyers to the convicted persons, Abdulrahman Yusuf and Samuel Aiyesa, said that they are going to appeal the judgement.
Also speaking, the state prosecutor, Grace Olowoporoku, who represented the state Attorney General, Mr. Adekola Olawoye, commended judge for the verdict.