An Ondo State High Court in Akure on Thursday sentenced seven men to death for armed robbery and killing of a US-based businessman, Banji Adafin.
Mr Adafin was said to be on vacation in Nigerian in July last year when the gunmen gained entrance into his home in Akure and killed him,
The convicts include Jimoh Sodiq a.k.a Akamo; Blessing Ogunlade, Yomi Balogun a.k.a Regal; Oluwaseun Oluwalola a.k.a Iyan; Akeem Adedayo, Oso John Omoniyi a.k.a Bosco and Sodiq Babatunde.
They were found guilty of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of firearms.
However, Jimoh Sodiq, who actually shot Mr Adafin to death, was convicted of murder contrary to and punishable under section 316 of the criminal code, cap 37 vol 1 laws of Ondo State of Nigeria.
The court also sentenced to one-year imprisonment, an accomplice, Damilola Samuel a.k.a Mama, who was the girlfriend of one of the convicts, for allegedly aiding the criminals.
She was said to have helped in disposing the stolen goods and served as the armourer to the gang. She was convicted for accessory after the fact contrary to section 10 of the criminal code, cap 37, laws of Ondo State.
The robbery incident occurred on July 4, 2017, at No. 5 Temidire street, Muyiwa Oni Avenue along Akure\Owo expressway, Akure.
The robbers were said to have killed Mr Adafin in the presence of his wife, before making away with valuables.
The trial judge, Samuel Bola, in his judgment, concluded that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused persons were culpable in the death of late Banji Adafin.
Mr Bola said the offenders committed the offences in contravention of the Robbery and Firearms Act, laws of the Federation (2004) and the Criminal Code, laws of Ondo state (2006).
In her statement, Ms Samuel had confessed that she was in a relationship with the second defendant, Blessing Ogunlade.
She said she had to do his bidding when he asked her to remove some incriminating items from his home.
While relieving her experience during the robbery incident, the wife of the deceased, Abimbola Adafin, told the court that she had a scream from her housemaid and a female relative, but before she could do anything, the robbers had gained entrance through the kitchen door.
“I was inside the bedroom with my husband and daughter when I heard Hannah Temitope (a relative) and Deborah Petti (a housemaid) suddenly scream at the top of their lungs which made me rush out of the bedroom to the living room,” she explained.
“When I got to the sitting room, I saw why the two women screamed. They were held at gunpoint by two armed robbers.
“When I saw the armed robbers, I panicked and ran back to the room. Unknown to me, the armed robbers had gained access inside the house through the kitchen door.”
She also told the court that the robbers beat up the two ladies with an iron rod, and made away with two Samsung plasma television sets, her husband’s Samsung phone, one techno phone and an electric pressing iron.
An official of the State Security Services, Olajiri Fadipe, who testified before the court, revealed that while six of the gunmen were actively involved in the armed robbery, the seventh accused person had supplied unlicensed firearms for the operation.