From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
An Ado Ekiti High Court has jailed a 23-year-old man, Odeh Gabriel, for seven years for burning a cocoa plantation.
Handing down the verdict on Tuesday, Justice Lekan Ogunmoye said the circumstantial evidence before the court had ‘fixed the defendant to the scene of the crime.
‘In all, I hold that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the defendant. He is accordingly found guilty as charged.
‘He is sentenced to seven years imprisonment each with an option of N15,000 fine in all the five-count charges, to be run concurrently,’ the court ruled.
According to the charge, Odeh committed the offence on February 25, 2019, at Ode-Omu farm, Erio Ekiti when he set fire on cocoa, banana and other vegetable farms belonging to Saka Ismaila, Ajayi Benson, Yusuf Wasiu, Jimoh Moshood and Moruf Popoola contrary to and punishable under section 445 a&c of the criminal code Law, Cap. C16, Laws of Ekiti State, Nigeria 2012.
To prove his case, the prosecutor, DO Oyewole, called six witnesses while the exhibit tendered includes statements of the complainants and defendants, photographs of the burnt farms among others.
The defendant called one witness and spoke through his counsel O.G Ajaja who pleaded to the court to temper justice with mercy.