The National Union of road transport workers, NURTW Chairman of the Aiyetoro unit, Saheed Arogundade was on Wednesday sentenced to death by hanging for killing a police officer, Gbenga Oladipo.
Arogundade was convicted after Justice Olabisi Akinlade of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos yesterday found him guilty of a two-count charge of murder and conspiracy to murder.
Arogundade was initially arraigned alongside five others: Mustapha Layeni, Adebayo Abdullahi, Seyi Pabiekun, Sikiru Rufai and Yusuf Arogundade, who were later discharged and acquitted by the court.
According to the State prosecutor, Mrs Rotimi Odutola, the police officer was brutally stabbed to death on April 10, 2010, by the NURTW chairman and some thugs at Bara junction of the Aiyetoro area of Ajegunle, Lagos.
During the course of the trial which lasted for nine years, the second prosecution witness, Ismaila Lukman told that the court that he witnessed the murder of the police officer.
Lukman, a commercial motorcycle rider, said that the deceased, on that day, called him to give him a ride to his mother’s house at Layinka area of Aiyetoro, Ajegunle when he was ambushed and killed by the convicts and some men.
He said: “The deceased called me to give him a ride to his mother’s house when four men approached us and dragged the deceased down from my motorcycle.
“One of them, Arogundade brought out a knife and stabbed him at the back. I ran off to go seek help from other fellow riders but when I returned, the other three men were hitting the deceased with their fist.
“I could see the faces of the other men clearly because I recognised Arogundade who stabbed him. When I got close to the deceased, I realised he has been badly stabbed all over his body and was bleeding severely.
“He was rushed him to a nearby hospital where he was confirmed dead. The hospital security officers later took me and his corpse to the police station and filed a report. The deceased body was carried in an ambulance to Ajeromi police Station.
Lukman further said that the convict and his cohorts killed the deceased on the grouse that he was encouraging the operation of tricycles in the Aiyetoro area of Lagos which the convict claimed would reduce the income of the NURTW unit.
However, in a three-hour judgement delivered by the judge, she held that the prosecution was not able to prove its case of conspiracy against the other five defendants.
Justice Akinlade held that the evidence of the sixth prosecution witness, one Adewale Akinola, could not be used to convict the second to sixth defendants.
Convicting Arogundade, Justice Akinlade held that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he killed the officer.
Delivering her judgement, she said: “The prosecution has been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the ingredients of conspiracy and murder against the first defendant, therefore, I pronounce that the first defendant is guilty as charged.
“I hereby pronounce sentence of the court upon you, Saheed Arogundade, that you will be hanged in the neck until you’re dead. May God have mercy on your soul.”