A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has convicted two pipeline vandals; Clement Ododomu, and Tiwei Monday guilty of conspiracy and murder of the seven officers of the Department of State Security (DSS) at Ishawo Creek of Ikorodu area on September 14, 2015.
The trial Justice Hakeem Oshodi while delivering judgment found both of them guilty but deferred sentencing of the convicts till November 14 after hearing of the allocutus plea of the convicts.
The court found the first defendant, Ododomu guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, murders, possession of firearms and felony. While the second defendant, Monday, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and felony.
The state government had alleged that, on September 14, 2015, the Lagos State Command of DSS received a distress report from one Mr Nwosu from the Sun Newspaper about the kidnap of his wife at their residence.
The Command immediately dispatched a nine-man team to carry out a surveillance operation to ascertain the location of the kidnappers who were negotiating for a ransom.
However, in the evening one of the team members, Mr Martins Ajayi, sent a distress text message to the Station saying that they had been ambushed by vandals and their weapons had been seized.
The two suspects were thereafter arrested and were arraigned on a 10-count charge bordering on murder and possession of firearms contrary to Section 223 and 298 (3) of the Criminal Law, Cap. C. A Vol. 3, laws of Lagos State 2015.
They pleaded not guilty to all the counts charge and the prosecution began the trial.
However, Justice Oshodi in his judgment held that the defence claim that the defendants were in Lagos for the funeral service of their grandmother is a ruse because they failed to provide essential witnesses to corroborate their claims.
The court also held that the prosecutor has not been able to prove the second defendant guilty of murder because the evidence before the court shows that it’s one Agbala and the first defendant that killed the operatives.
Justice Oshodi further said that the prosecutor was able to prove the culpability of the two defendants for felony having participated in the ambush of the operatives.
He said that ” upon the proper evaluation of the evidence before the court, the convicts are discharged and acquitted on counts of 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 because the prosecutor was unable to prove the allegations against them.
He noted that the prosecutor was able to prove that the first defendant, Ododomu, is guilty of counts 1, 5, 7, 9 and 10 which borders on conspiracy to commit murder, murders, possession of firearms and felony. While the second defendant, Monday, is found guilty of count 1 and 10 which borders on conspiracy to commit murder and felony
After the court pronounced them guilty as charged, the defence counsel, Mr Olusegun Akande, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.
In his response, the prosecutor, Dr Babajide Martins, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), urged the court to convict them as prescribed by the section under which they were charged.