Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Three persons have been sentenced to 21 years imprisonment with hard labour by a Delta State High Court, sitting in Asaba, for the kidnap of Mrs. Tobore Oborevwori, wife of the present Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwore.
The convicts, Innocent Kpalajo, 35, Ejiro Omorere, 36, and Festus Okoro, 28, were arraigned in May 2011 on a 4-count charge for conspiracy to kidnap, kidnap, demanding with menace and armed robbery.
The offences are punishable under Sections 516 (a), 364, 406 of the Criminal Code Law Cap. C 21 Vol.1, Laws of Delta State of Nigeria 2006 and section 1 (2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms ( Special Provisions) Act Cap. R 11.
Although the three persons had pleaded not guilty to the charges, the court presided over by the state Chief Judge, Justice Marshall Umukoro held that the prosecution proved the case against them beyond reasonable doubt.
Justice Umukoro said he was convinced that the prosecution established the ingredients of conspiracy, kidnapping, demanding with menace and armed robbery, and accordingly found them guilty of all the charges.
While the convicts broke down in tears and pleaded for mercy, the Chief Judge reminded them how they would feel if their mothers, sisters or relatives were kidnapped.
He described the second accused person, who was driver to the present Speaker of the State House of Assembly as a traitor of the worst kind.
The court also ordered the re-arrest of one Rotimi Oyewole who allegedly received and bought the robbed Camry car with registration No. DT 688 ASB to face trial, and same with Oghenemano Isiah who allegedly jumped bail.
According to the prosecution, first prosecution witness, Mrs. Tobore Oborevwori who identified one of her captors as her husband’s driver, testified that on May 8, 2011, at about 1.00pm while driving along Osubi road after visiting a widow, noticed a gold coloured Toyota Camry car trailing her and suddenly ambushed her car.
Thereafter, two men carrying arms came out of the car, took her to the back seat of their car, blindfolded her and drove her to an unknown destination.
She was later chained hands and legs in a toilet with another female victim while the culprits dispossessed her of her Toyota Camry car number. DT 688, BlackBerry touch phone and other personal effects.
After 48 hours of being incommunicado, the accused persons used her phone to call her pastor, demanding for N50 million ransom.
Operatives of the Department of State Security who were later contacted, used the calls to trace one of them to a hotel at Afiesere where he was arrested, which led to the rescue of the victim on May 13 2011 at Okpare-Olomu.