A Lagos State High Court on Wednesday sentenced the Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Boundary/Ayetoro unit in Lagos, Saheed Arogundade, to death by hanging for killing a police officer.
Justice Olabisi Akinlade however discharged and acquitted Arogundade’s five co-defendants Mustapha Layeni, Adebayo Abdullahi, Seyi Pabiekun, Sikiru Rufai and Yusuf Arogundade of a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
The deceased was killed on April 10, 2010, around 8 am at the Gbara junction in the Ayetoro area of Ajegunle, Lagos.
During the trial, the second prosecution witness, Ismaila Lukman, who was the motorcycle rider conveying Oladipupo at the time of the murder, gave a vivid account of the incident before the court.
He had said, “The deceased had called me for a ride to his mother’s house when four men approached us and dragged him down.
“One of them, Saheed, brought out a knife and stabbed him in the back. I ran off to seek help from other motorcyclists, but when I returned, I saw the other three men hitting the deceased with their fists.
“I couldn’t see the faces of the other men clearly because I was gazing at Saheed, who stabbed the victim. When I got close to the deceased, I realised that he had been badly stabbed all over his body and was bleeding profusely.”
While convicting Saheed, Justice Akinlade held that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that he killed the officer.
In her words; “The 6th prosecution witness was not directly at the scene of the crime but was standing in front of his house and the object that he described as object used for the assailant of the deceased was different from the description of the weapon described by the pathologist.
“Pw6 claimed that it was matchete used in stabbing the deceased, so I hereby rule that Pw6 is not a reliable witness. The only evidence the court will rely on is that of pw2 whose evidence was cogent and convincing.
“The evidence of pw6 is not sufficient to convict the defendants, the court believes he was not being truthful. The police did not conduct a serious investigation to determine if the fifth and sixth defendants were at the scene of crime. I hereby acquit and discharge the second to sixth defendants in respect of the charges.”
Akinlade stated that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that Arogundade killed the officer.
“The defence has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the first defendant killed Gbenga Oladipupo. The first defendant did not act alone but since pw2 did not recognise the second to sixth defendants, they are acquitted of the two counts.
“The prosecution has been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the ingredients of conspiracy and murder against the first defendant, therefore, I pronounce that the first defendant is guilty as charged.
“I hereby pronounce sentence of the court upon you, Saheed Arogundade, that you will be hanged in the neck until you’re dead. May God have mercy on your soul.”