After one and half year legal tussle, an Ilorin High Court on Tuesday sentenced killers of Olajide Blessing Omowumi, a 300 level student of the University of Ilorin, to death by hanging.
The deceased, who would had turned 26 years this year, was raped and murdered in a merciless manner by the assailants.
The trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Yusuf, who handed down the judgment, convicted the 1st, 2nd and 3rd suspects; Abdulazeez Ismail, Ajala Oluwatimileyin and Oyeyemi Omogbolahan, for the offences of culpable homicide and armed robbery, ordering that they should die by hanging.
“I direct you Abdulazeez Ismail, Ajala Oluwatimileyin and Oyeyemi Omogbolahan, should be hanged by the neck until you’re pronounced dead,” the judge pronounced.
In the 165 pages judgment, which was delivered for four hours, the court also sentenced the 4th and 5th suspects to three years imprisonment for the offence of theft.
Earlier, the court has discharged and acquitted the 6th, 7th and 8th suspects; Abdullateef Abdulrahman, Daud Aderayo and Akande Oladoja on the basis that they were not found guilty of any charges against them.
According to the judgment, the lifeless body of the deceased was found in the afternoon time of the day with bruises all over her body, her hands tied to the back, and a towel covering her face.
The judge added that the conventional statement which could be relied upon on the basis of law, revealed that the deceased struggled with the killers until she was pushed and fell, while the 1st and 3rd convicts held her down for the 2nd convict to perpetrate the henieus crime of rape.
He said the deceased was raped till death on June 2, 2021, at her guardian’s residence in Tanke area of Ilorin, and a piece of paper was dropped on her chest with message containing: ‘No forgiveness for Unilorin student’.
According to the judgment, Ismail, Oluwatimileyin and Omogbolahan conspired among themselves to rob the deceased of her Samsung Galaxy A2 Core handset, one black Acer Aspire laptop andone Samsung drive, among several other items.
The killers were tried on 11-count charge bordering on murder, rape, armed robbery and illegal possession of firearms, among others.
Reacting to the judgment, the Prosecution Counsel and former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Salman Jawondo, told newsmen after the court session that justice had caught up with the culprits.
“The first, second and third defendants who are the main culprits were found guilty of culpable homicide punishable with death, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to murder.
“They were accordingly sentenced to death. That’s maximum. There’s no discretion for the court to exercise by virtue of provision of the Armed Robbery Act, it’s death.
“So also by virtue of Section 221 of the Penal Code, it’s death sentence for culpable homicide. So, they were accordingly sentenced to death.
“Although, the third defendant, who was also convicted of rape was sentenced to life imprisonment, but it’s neither here nor there. When somebody is condemned, the life imprisonment does not ameliorate anything,” he said.
Jawondo further explained that: “With respect to the fourth and fifth defendants, they were found guilty of conspiracy to steal and stealing of money in the bank account of the deceased.
“You know, after killing her, they took her ATM card, Sim card and her phone. They changed her password, through instrumentality of the fourth and fifth defendants, who are experts in computer manipulation, collected some money through transfer, totalling about N149,000.
“They were convicted for conspiracy and stealing/theft. They were accordingly sentenced to three years imprisonment to run concurrently. For conspiracy, one year, for main offence three years, commencing from the date of their arrest.”
He added that: “They’ve spent about one and half years already in custody. The other three: sixth, seventh and eighth escaped by whiskers. They are very lucky. If you look at their involvement, they only assisted to dispose of property stolen.
“The irony of it all is that all those involved are very young men of 19, 23, etc. It’s quite unfortunate and that tells that we have to work on our future in this country,” he said.