Nemesis! Kogi court sentences cattle rustlers to death by hanging

A High Court sitting in Kogi State has sentenced two kingpins of a notorious cross-border cattle rustling syndicate, Muhammed Lawal Jauro and Yusuf Sanni, to death by hanging.

The two convicts were charged before Hon. Justice Josiah Majebi of the Okene division of the High Court of Justice on four counts of criminal conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery, criminal conspiracy to commit criminal homicide and culpable homicide, all of which contravene sections of the Penal Code.

Justice Majebi found the cattle rustlers guilty on all the four charges despite their plea of non-guilty to the offences.

The prosecution witness had told the court that sometimes in January 2016 one Dauda Abdullahi made a report of the gruesome murder and theft of the cows of one Haruna in one of the farm centers in Okene.

He said upon further investigation, the accused persons were arrested at Ajese-Ikpo in Kwara state while their leader, Awaijo Wetti, was still at large as at the time of the prosecution.

He said that the convicts, who admitted committing the offences alongside the said leader, narrated how they grouped and subsequently machete their victim to death in his farm and eventually stole his cows which they took to Ajase-Ikpo before they were apprehended.

The first accused person, Muhammed Lawal Jauro’s confessional statement which was corroborated by the second, Yusuf Sanni, was relied upon by the court to arrive at its verdict. They both stated how they and their other gang members conspired to commit the crime in December 2015.

Jauro said, “Sometimes in the month of December, 2015, one of my friends by name Yusuf leaving at Kabba junction Zariagi called me on phone and said there are some cows belonging to one Haruna at the bush of Okene, that we should go and steal the cows. After that, our leader by name Agwaijo Wetti leaving at Tyre village along Okene-Auchi road asked us to meet at the bush of Okene which we did. It was there myself, Yusuf, Ado and our leader, Agwaijo Wetti, gathered us and led us and all of us were holding cutlasses and we met the owner of the cow rearing his cow and all of us machete him with cutlasses until he died before three of us took control of the cows to Ajase-Ipo in Kwara state.”

In his judgment, Justice Majebi declared that the confessions of the accused persons were weighty and admissible in determining the case against them.

He said, “The confessions of the respective accused persons are graphic, direct and the accused persons stated that after killing the deceased Haruna, they went with his cows to Ajase-Ipo where they were arrested and the cows were recovered in the bush where they kept them.”

On their denial of the offence during the trials, the court held that the denial of their guilt before the court could not be substantiated because “the admission of the commission of the said offence by the accused persons in their respective statements is clear, specific and unambiguous.”

On the death of the deceased, Justice Majebi held that the prosecution satisfactorily established that the death of the deceased was caused by the convicts as there was “a nexus between the acts of the accused persons and the death of the deceased.”

Thereafter, the court sentenced them to 28 years each on the first three count charges and sentenced them to death by hanging on the fourth charge of culpable homicide.

“By the said pieces of evidence, I hold the prosecution has satisfactorily established the death of the deceased and that same was caused by the accused persons. I hold that the prosecution has proved all the ingredients of each of the heads of charge against the accused persons thereby raising presumption of guilt against them in respect of all the heads of charge. It will amount to flying in the face of the evidence before the court to believe the story of the accused persons that they have no knowledge of the commission of the offences and the exhibits tendered except their handsets. To believe same is to believe the holiness of a Bishop hanging a talisman on his neck” said Justice Majebi while pronouncing the court’s verdict.Punch

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