Femi Makinde, Osogbo
An Osun State High Court sitting in Ile Ife has sentenced a couple – Fatai Jimoh and Lateefat Jimoh – to death by hanging for armed robbery and the murder of one Mrs. Bukola Taiwo of Ikeketu, Ile Ife.
Taiwo was said to have gone on a business trip to Ile Ife on August 12, 2009, and slept over at the Jimohs’ apartment.
It was learnt that the victim, who was a palm oil dealer, used to come from Ibadan, Oyo State, to buy palm oil at Ile Ife.
Taiwo was said to have bought 70 jerrycans of palm oil and kept them at the apartment of the couple. But the couple reportedly sold 48 jerrycans and promised to pay her back when she discovered the theft.
The couple, however, attacked the woman, who later died in a hospital.
The convicts were arraigned on June 2, 2014, on three counts of murder, conspiracy to murder and armed robbery respectively, which violated Section 316 (1), with punishment under Section 319, Cap 34, Law of Osun State and Section 1 (1) 2 (a) of the Robbery and Fire Arms (Special Provision) Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2000.
The couple had pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
The prosecutor, during the trial, had called four witnesses and tendered 10 exhibits.
The prosecutor had told the court that Fatai strangulated the victim, while his wife smashed Taiwo’s head with a hammer after which the couple stole the victim’s purse and removed the sum of N48,780.
The Principal State Counsel, Mr. Faremi Moses, presented the hammer which the couple used on the deceased and other exhibits before the court.
The witnesses called by the prosecuting counsel were a police inspector, a pathologist from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, the Baale of Ikeketu and a neighour, who witnessed what happened.
Justice Onibokun, in his judgment, said the wife’s confessional statement to the police was taken as paramount and her confession was true.
The judge found the husband and wife guilty of two out of the three charges preferred against them.
Onibokun said, “The evidence of the prosecutor is cogent, reliable and credible, and the accused are therefore found guilty of murder and armed robbery after careful examination of the facts before the court.
“I hereby sentence them to death by hanging for murder and armed robbery, while they are discharged for conspiracy.”