By Lukman Olabiyi
Justice Modupe Nico-Clay of the Lagos state High court sitting at Tafa-Balewa Square (TBS) has found two men, Bode Fabiyi and Afeez Opeyemi Ahmed, guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging, for kidnapping and killing of a 53 year- old businessman Kolawole Animashaun, who had just relocated from the United Kingdom to Nigeria.
Besides, the court also sentenced the duo to 77 years, imprisonment with hard labour for the offence of conspiracy to murder, kidnapping, murder, collection of ransom and dumping of the corpse in a soak-away pit.
The court sentenced the convicts to 14 years imprisonment for the first count and sentenced them to death on the second count charge and 21 years each for counts of three ,four and five respectively.
Justice Nico-Clay , said that the term of the sentence should run concurrently.
Delivery judgment yesterday, Justice Nico-Clay said that the prosecution has been able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt that the convicts committed the offence.
The judge held that the offences of conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping has been established. “That the deceased died that it was the defendant that caused the death of the deceased.”
“ The act and omission of the defendants caused the death of the deceased.
“ The Prosecution Witness 1, said the first defendant was with her Dad’s phone, she got a message that her dad was kidnapped.
“ The first defendant Bode Fabiyi had denied killing the deceased, but on citing Afeez, he started confessing that he killed, broke his head with a big sledge hammer and dumped his corpse in a soak-away.
The convicts committed the offences on July 31, 2016 at no. 346, Muritala Muhammed Way Yaba.
The Lagos state prosecution led by Mrs Adeshina Adekunle-Bello and Mrs Titilayo Olanrewaju-Daud, told the court that the convicts conspired amongst themselves to kill the victim Kolawole Animashaun.
She said that the duo, after kidnapping Animashaun, they blind folded him, tied him up and gagged his mouth before strangulating him to death.
The prosecution also told the court during the convicts’ arraignment that they broke the head of the deceased with a big sledge hammer before strangling him to death and dumped his corpse in a soak-away pit.
Olanrewaju-Daud, further told the court that Bode Fabiyi and Afeez Ahmed, also sold the deceased’s car and then asked the family for a ransom if they wanted to see him alive.
According to the prosecutor the offences committed are contrary to and punishable under Sections 411, 223, 221 and 233 of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015.
During trial, the deceased’s daughter Lola Animashaun, testified that the incident happened on July 31, 2016, after her Dad took his elder brother who was a bit ill, to his house at Ijesha and told her that he will come back home to Ikorodu.
She said that when she got back from her outing, she called her father and asked him where he was and he said he was presently at Yaba to meet his friend.
Lola said “Then I heard a laugh at the background , this wicked kind of laughter, the man was like what do you people mean, then he said he will call back and ended the call. At night I tried his number it wasn’t going, I called my uncle they said he wasn’t there. I called my father’s elder brother; he said my dad already left him.
“Then I started chatting him, in the middle of the night and Bode Fabiyi, responded the chat and told me that he was fine that he went to Aguda that he will be coming back the next day that he went to his friend’s place at Aguda.
“On the second day, I called his line, he wasn’t responding, I told him to pick his call that he should no longer chat me that I was becoming scared, he said he can’t call that he was very busy.
The witness said “The person in question asked for a vital information from my dad, his account number, I was like of course you know you had locked your door and the key to your room is with you, so how do you expect me to open the door he told me to go to the room, I told him to pick his call. So I called my uncle they told me that he didn’t come around. so we started the search, we went to SARS, they told me to continue communicating with him, he was always sends me scary pictures.
“He always told me that he was going to pluck out my father’s eyes and give it to the vulture that he was going to butcher him, and after he has done that he will come after me. He emotionally tormented me. He always said that I am a wicked and heartless child that I don’t want to sell my father’s property and probably send him the money.
“I told him that the money is not the problem that he should just let me speak to him hear his voice and ensure that he is fine. But on and on he was just playing with our intelligence. I was tired because he was scaring me a lot so I had to delete my WhatsApp. Because it was frustrating, I had to tell the police that I could no longer trail him on WhatsApp. It was after three week or there about that I was called by the DSS, at Shangisha that they heard what happened to my dad and when I got there they started showing me the pictures of his properties that was found like his phone, the car and after wards they took him to the mortuary,” she said.