Iwo - Justice Moshood Adeigbe of Osun High Court sitting in Iwo, on Monday sentenced five men to 10 years’ imprisonment each for kidnapping the wife of the Speaker of Osun House of Assembly, Muibatu Salaam.
Chukwudi Okereke, 25; Ogbole Elijah, 42; Okonkwo Lucky, 27; Chukuma Osifo, 28 and Kaikine Mahah, 30, were convicted of conspiracy, kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
Adeigbe said the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the convicts were guilty of the charges brought against them.
He said that the court was able to establish the act of conspiracy and plot to kidnap the speaker’s wife, through the confessional statements made by the convicts.
Adeigbe said it was also established that after plotting the kidnap, the convict abducted their victim in Ejigbo and detained her unlawfully in a forest in Ogun.
He said the convicts also had firearms in their possession, which they intended to use in detaining their victim unlawfully.
Adeigbe added that the convicts later demanded ransom from the victim's husband.
He said the evidence provided by the prosecution during trial showed clearly that the convicts actually carried out the crime.
Adeigbe, therefore, sentenced them to seven years in prison for conspiracy under Section 516 of the Robbery and Firearms Act of Nigeria, 10 years for kidnapping under Section 364 (2) of the Act and 10 years for unlawful possession of firearms under Section 3(1).
He said the sentences would run concurrently, meaning that each of the convict would serve only 10 years in prison.
In his reaction, the prosecutor, Adewale Afolabi, told the media that the judgment was “fair”, adding that it would service as a deterrent to others with similar intent.
Afolabi said Osun had zero tolerance for kidnappers, warning that all those in the trade of kidnapping should leave the state.
The defence counsel, Segun Komolafe, said his clients would appeal the judgment within the 30 days stipulated by law.
He said there were some gray areas that were not treated during the trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the convicts were first arraigned on November 11, 2012 before a Magistrates’ Court in Osogbo after they were apprehended on October 13, 2012.