Three gunmen who allegedly abducted Mrs. Oborevwori Tobore, wife of the Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Sheriff Oborevwori, in May 2011 along the Osubi road in Okpe Local Government Area of the state have been sentenced to 21 years in prison each.
The judgement, delivered at an Asaba High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Marshal Umukoro, last Thursday ordered that the convicts serve their jail terms with hard labour to serve as a deterrent to those involved in the act of kidnapping in the state.
Mrs. Oborevwori, who was abducted by the three-man armed gang on 8th of May, 2011, were arraigned on four counts of conspiracy to kidnap, kidnap, demanding with menace and armed robbery, offences punishable under sections 516 (a), 364, 406 of the Criminal Code Law Cap. C 21 Vol.1, Laws of Delta State of Nigeria 2006; and Section 1 (2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap. R 11 since May 2011.
In a statement on Tuesday signed by the State Head of Protocol/PRO, High Court of Justice, Agbaragu Timothy, said that a former driver to the Speaker was among the three persons convicted in the legal battle that lasted for seven years.
The convicts are: Innocent Kpalajo (35), Ejiro Omorere (36) and Festus Okoro (28).
The statement said the first prosecution witness, Mrs. Oborevwori (victim) who identified one of the kidnappers as her husband’s driver, had told the trial judge that she was waylaid and whisked to an unknown place by the three-man gang who operated in gold colour Toyota Camry while returning from a visit.
“The first prosecution witness, Mrs. Tobore Oborevwori, testified that on the 8th of May 2011, at about 1.00pm while driving along Osubi Road after visiting a widow, she noticed a gold colour Toyota Camry car following her and suddenly ambushed her car.
“Thereafter, two men carrying arms came out of the car, took her to the back seat of their car, blindfolded her and drove her to an unknown destination.
She was later chained hands and legs in a toilet with another female victim.
“She also averred that the culprits dispossessed her of her Toyota Camry car No. DT 688, BlackBerry touch phone and other personal effects.
“After 48 hours of incommunicado, the accused persons used her phone to call her pastor, demanding for N50 million ransom.
“The Department of State Security was later contacted who used the calls to trace one of them to a hotel at Afiesere where he was arrested, and this later led to the rescue of the victim on 13th of May, 2011 at Okpare-Olomu,” the statement said.
Justice Umukoro, who decried the action of the convicts as barbaric, stated that, “Having thoroughly weighed the evidences adduced by both prosecution and defence counsel on the scale of Justice, he was convinced that the prosecution has established the ingredients of conspiracy, kidnap, demanding by menace and robbery, and accordingly found the three accused persons guilty of the four counts.”
While giving the judgement, the judge also ordered the immediate rearrest of one Rotimi Oyewole who received and bought the Camry car with registration No. DT 688 ASB to face trial, and same with Oghenemano Isiah who had earlier jumped bail.
The Chief Judge particularly described the action of the second accused person, who was driver to the incumbent Delta Speaker as a “traitor of the worst kind.”