Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, on Tuesday sentenced one Clement Ododomu to death by hanging over the killing of Department of State Services, DSS, officers.
Additionally, Tiwei Monday was given a 16-year sentence at a penitentiary facility by the judge.
Judge Oshodi stated that he rendered the decision after taking into account the evidence presented in court as well as the defendants’ behaviour, which he described as “unremorseful.”
The judge stated that Dr. Babajide Martins, the Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP), had responded to the allocutus by Defence Counsel Olusegun Akande, who had begged for the court to balance justice with mercy on October 11.
The inmates, who are vandals, were charged with the murder of seven Department of State Services (DSS) officials in the state’s Ikorodu region, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to Justice Oshodi, Martins informed the court that the defendants’ offences were serious and that the maximum terms should be imposed.
The judge said: “The court has considered the allocutus of the defence counsel, but the position of the law is binding to us all. As noted, the first defendant was convicted on counts one, five, seven, nine and ten, while the second defendant was convicted on counts one and ten.
“This is as contained in the information filed dated January 13, 2017. The provisions of this sections of the law are as follows:
“Count I, the count convicted the first and second defendants on the count –
“This count is brought contrary to Section 233 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2015, liable to a conviction of 14 years.
“On counts five and seven, the first defendant on these counts, which is contrary to Section 233 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015, provides that any one who commits murder shall be sentenced to death.”
Judge Oshodi states that the first defendant on count nine is charged under Section 298(3) of the Lagos State, 2015 Criminal Laws, and as such, faces a minimum sentence of 14 years and a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.
Furthermore, count 10 saw the conviction of both the first and second offenders under Section 410 of the Lagos State, 2015 Criminal Laws, which carries a two-year jail sentence.
He said that the defense’s assertion that the defendants were in Lagos for their grandmother’s funeral was a lie.
According to Justice Oshodi, the defence did not present crucial witnesses to support the assertion.
But he concluded that the prosecution had not been able to establish the second defendant’s culpability of murder.
According to Justice Oshodi, the evidence presented in court demonstrated that Agbala, the first defendant, was the one who killed the operatives.
He ruled that the prosecution had sufficient evidence to establish the two defendants’ involvement in the operatives’ ambush.
As a result, he dismissed the charges against the convicts on counts two, three, four, six, and eight and found them not guilty because the prosecution could not substantiate their accusations.
Justice Oshodi said: “The court has observed the demeanor of the defendants and came to the conclusion that they felt no remorse with regards to the allegations they were facing.
“They informed the court that they do not understand English language, whereas, in the recording, they both were conversing in English.
“The first and second defendants are hereby sentenced to imprisonment for 14 years for count 10 and the first and second defendants are hereby sentenced to imprisonment for two years for count 9.
“The first defendant is hereby sentenced to imprisonment for 20 years. The terms of imprisonment for both defendants will run concurrently.
“For count five and seven, which the court has found the first defendant guilty, the sentence of the court upon you is that you be hanged by the neck until you be dead and may God have mercy on your soul.”
According to NAN, the Lagos State Government said that on September 14, 2015, an editor of the Sun newspaper (name withheld) called the DSS in despair regarding his wife’s kidnapping at their home.
According to reports, the State Command of the DSS thereafter sent out a nine-person squad to conduct surveillance in order to locate the kidnappers who were attempting to extract a ransom.
The prosecution further stated that it was learned that one of the DSS team members, Mr. Martins Ajayi, had texted the command headquarters in distress that evening, claiming that the team had been ambushed by vandals and that their weapons had been taken.
The prosecution claims that the defendants committed the charges on September 14, 2015, in Ishawo Creek, Ikorodu, Lagos.
The defendants were charged with ten counts of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, and unlawful firearm possession, all of which are under Lagos State’s 2015 Criminal Law Sections 223 and 298 (3).
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