By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Akure, Ondo State, has sentence d one Abdullah Bilawu Oloyede, and two of his sons to life imprisonment over attempted murder of an Iwo High Chief.
Oloyede and his two sons, Musa Bilawu and Waidi Bilawu, were also handed 14 years imprisonment for conspiracy. The jail terms are to run concurrently.
The trio were accused of attempting to murder High Chief Morufu Lamidi, the Odofin of Iwo land; Yakubu Dauda and Aliyu Akibu on August 28, 2016, during the visit of the chief and family members to their farmland along Agoro Road, Iwo.
In a unanimous ruling, the appellate court dismissed the judgement of an Osun State High Court, sitting in Iwo, which had acquitted the accused persons.
The three-man panel of judges, led by Justice Rita Nosakhare Pemu, include Justices James Gambo Abundaga and Yusuf Alhaji Bashir, held that there were sufficient evidence confirming an attempt to murder Lamidi, Dauda and Akibu.
Bilawu and his two sons were acquitted of the crime on September 22, 2017, by the lower court.
But dissatisfied by the judgement, counsel to the state, Idrees Abiodun Mikaheel Esq, approached the appellate court.
In the judgement delivered by Justice Pemu, the appellate court held that “evidence abound linking the respondents to the scene of the crime.”
“There was abundant evidence that suggests that the respondents conspired with others to commit the crimes for which they were charged, that is conspiracy and attempted murder.
“By hitting PW2 on the head, suggests an intention to kill him. The gravity of the stab wounds and matchete wounds on the victims as shown in the pictures connotes an attempt to kill.
“These issues are resolved in favour of the appellants and against the respondents,” the court held.
While acquitting the respondents of armed robbery offence, which was also preffered against them, the court said: “The judgement of the High Court of Justice, Osun State, Iwo Judicial Division, delivered on the 22nd day of September 2017, is hereby set aside.
“The respondents are hereby sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted murder and 14 years imprisonment each for conspiracy.The sentences to run concurrently,” the judges held.