Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos State High Court Wednesday convicted and sentenced the Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Boundary/Aiyetoro unit area of the state, Saheed Arogundade, to death by hanging for the murder of a police officer.
Justice Akinlade ordered the execution of the convict after finding him guilty of conspiracy and murder of the police officer, Gbenga Oladipupo brought against him by the by the Lagos State government.
The judge, however, discharged and acquitted five others: Mustapha Layeni, Adebayo Abdullahi, Seyi Pabiekun, Sikiru Rufai, Yusuf Arogundade for lack of sufficient evidence.
The state had claimed that the condemned convict and others committed the crime on April 10, 2010 around 8am at the Gbara junction of the Ayetoro area of Ajegunle, Lagos.
According to the prosecution, the deceased was stabbed to death by Arogundade and his cohorts while on his way to visit his mother at Olayinka street in the Ayetoro area of the state.
During the cause of the trial, the second prosecution witness, Ismaila Lukman, who was the motorcycle rider that was conveying Oladipupo testified that, “The deceased called me to give him a ride to his mother’s house when four men approached us and dragged the deceased down from my motorcycle.
“One of them, Arogundade brought out a knife and stabbed him at the back. I ran off to go seek for help from other fellow riders but when I returned, the other three men were hitting the deceased with their fist.
“I could not see the faces of the other men clearly because I was gazing at Arogundade who stabbed him. When I got close to the deceased, I realised he has been badly stabbed all over his body and was bleeding severely.”
In her judgment, Justice Akinlade held that the prosecution was not able to prove its case against the other defendants.
The judge maintained that the evidence of the sixth prosecution witness, one Adewale Akinola, could not be used to convict the second to sixth defendants.
She said, “the 6th prosecution witness was not directly at the scene of 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.”
Convicting Arogundade, Justice Akinlade held that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that he killed the officer.
She said, “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 are dead. May God have mercy on your soul.”