An Oyo State High Court on Monday slammed a six-year jail term with hard labour on a former chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Oyo State, Alhaji Mukaila Lamidi, popularly known as ‘Auxilliary’ for conspiring with four others to kill a medical student, Adekunle Oladipupo on March 2, 2014.
The four others – Saheed Kareem, Taiwo Tijani, Abu Kareem and Kazeem Kayode, are also to suffer the same fate.
The quintet were charged with a three-count charge of conspiracy, attempted murder and murder of one Adekunle Oladipupo, a medical student on March 2, 2014, at 9.45p.m, at Iwo Road motor park in Ibadan.
The Oyo State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr. Tajudeen Abdulganiyu, also accused all of them of attempted murder of one Akeem Agbaje at Iwo Road motor park, Ibadan.
They pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After trial which spanned over two years, the trial high court judge, Justice Eni Esan found them guilty of the first count of conspiracy alone and discharged them of the two other counts of attempted murder and murder.
The case of the prosecution against the convicts was that on the fateful day, March 2, 2014, the accused persons with others at large stormed the motor park in a Peugeot 604 belonging to Alhaji Mukaila and two other Micra cars, shooting sporadically during which the deceased was hit by bullet and died immediately.
The star prosecution witness who gave the evidence of how the incident happened told the court he was beside Adekunle Oladipupo before he was felled by the accused bullets, adding that he also sustained serious injury on the day.
During cross-examination, the star witness told the court that although the incident occurred at about 9:45pm, he was able to identify the accused persons with the headlights of the cars that lit up the place.
The defence team had made spirited efforts to deny their involvement and the account of the star witness.
Delivering judgment in the case on Monday, Justice Eni Esan found Lamidi and others guilty of the first count charge of conspiracy, but discharged them on the second count charge of attempted murder and the third count charge of murder.
“The court hereby discharged the accused persons on the murder charge,” he said, adding that the allegations of attempted murder could not stand because the argument of the first prosecution witness (PW1), Akeem Agbaje, failed as he claimed to have identified the accused with vehicle headlight.
The judge said he was not convinced that the witness could identify the accused persons using the headlights.
The court further explained that the DPP was unable to prove the charges of attempted murder and murder against the accused, adding that the evidence before the court showed that the four defendants were aggrieved members of NURTW in the state.
After the court had convicted the defendants, counsel to Lamidi, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, appealed to the court to be lenient with his client because he was a first offender with no record of previous conviction.
Ojo, who noted that Lamidi had been in prison custody since April 2014, urged the court to consider over two years he already spent in custody, his aged mother and family.
In the same vein, counsel to three other defendants, Mr. Adeleke Bakare, aligned with the submission of Ojo.
The judge then sentenced the defendants to six years imprisonment each with hard labour commencing from the day of arraignment.