Court Sentences Three Men To Prison On Two-Count Charge Of Conspiracy And Illegal Possession Of Arms
Three men were on Wednesday sentenced to 40 years imprisonment each in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital for illegal possession of arms.
They are Femi Olasupo, Musbau Oloyede and Ahmed Akinsanya.
They were jailed by an Oyo State High Court after they were found guilty of a two-count charge of conspiracy and illegal possession of firearms.
The accused were arrested by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in 2011 following a report by Olasupo’s neighbours that he had no source of livelihood and was harbouring some people of questionable character who were terrorizing residents of Iwo Road area of the city.
In the suit marked I/1786/2012, Olasupo was in March 2011 arrested and upon investigation, he led the security agents to an uncompleted building behind Mr Bigg’s eatery at Iwo Road, Ibadan, where four double barrel guns were recovered.
His arrest led to the arrest of Musbau in whose possession some illegal firearms were also recovered at another uncompleted building around the area. When the third accused person was arrested, however, no arms were recovered from him but evidence from the prosecution witnesses revealed to the court that the trio had earlier been jailed together at the Ilesa, Osun State Prison from where they were released around the same time. They thereafter formed a gang operating around Iwo Road, Ibadan.
The accused made confessional statements, though they alleged torture by men of SARS in their defence evidence, adding that they were also forced to sign their statements.
Argument by their counsel, Oluwole Olukole, that the accused persons were not arrested at any crime scene, and that no forensic test was conducted on the firearms to link the accused persons could not sway Justice Adegboye Gbolagunte Feom jailing them.
After the trial-within-trial conducted to establish the accused persons’ culpability in the crime, the court found them guilty based on circumstantial evidence led by the prosecution. The Judge found them guilty of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, as well as illegal possession of firearms recovered from them which corroborated the allegation of illegal possession contrary to the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Laws of the Federation.
As part of his decision, the Judge said: “In my view, the recovery of firearms in possession of the accused persons is sufficient to justify their guilt. It was my decision after the trial-within-trial that the accused persons fell guilty of conspiracy. They were jailed together at Ilesa Prison and released at about the same time. Count 1 is well founded and sustained in this case. I therefore hold that the accused persons are guilty of the offences as charged.”
In his judgment, Gbolagunte relied on Section 2(3) and 6(b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) and accordingly sentenced the three accused persons to “20 years on count 1 of conspiracy, and 20 years on count 2 of illegal possession of firearms.” The sentences are to run concurrently with the time they have spent in custody after the arrest deducted from the sentence.