By Lukman Olabiyi
Judge Modupe Nico-Clay of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Tafa-Balewa Square (TBS) found two men, Bode Fabiyi and Afeez Opeyemi Ahmed, guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging, for the kidnapping and murder of a 53-year-old man. old businessman Kolawole Animashaun, who had just moved from the UK to Nigeria.
In addition, the court also sentenced the duo to 77 years in prison with hard labor for the offense of criminal association, kidnapping, murder, collection of ransom and dumping of the corpse in a cesspool.
The court sentenced the convicts to 14 years imprisonment on the first count and sentenced them to death on the second count and 21 years each on counts three, four and five respectively .
Judge Nico-Clay, said the length of the sentence should run concurrently.
Delivering judgment yesterday, Judge Nico-Clay said the prosecution was able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the convicts committed the offence.
The judge found that the offenses of conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping were established. “That the deceased died that it was the accused who caused the death of the deceased.”
“The act and omission of the defendants caused the death of the deceased.
“Prosecution Witness 1, said the first defendant was with her father’s phone, she received a message that her father had been kidnapped.
“The first defendant Bode Fabiyi had denied having killed the deceased, but quoting Afeez, he began to confess that he had killed, had broken his head with a large mass and had thrown his corpse into a cesspool.
The convicts committed the offenses on July 31, 2016 at no. 346, Muritala Muhammed Way Yaba.
The Lagos Public Prosecutor’s Office, led by Ms Adeshina Adekunle-Bello and Ms Titilayo Olanrewaju-Daud, told the court that the convicts conspired with each other to kill victim Kolawole Animashaun.
She said the duo, after kidnapping Animashaun, blindfolded him, tied him up and gagged his mouth before strangling him to death.
The prosecution also told the court during the arraignment of the convicts that they broke the deceased’s head with a large sledgehammer before strangling him to death and dumping his corpse in a cesspool.
Olanrewaju-Daud further told the court that Bode Fabiyi and Afeez Ahmed also sold the deceased’s car and then demanded a ransom from the family if they wanted to see him alive.
According to the prosecutor, the offenses committed are contrary and punishable under Sections 411, 223, 221 and 233 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015.
During the trial, the daughter of the deceased, Lola Animashaun, testified that the incident happened on July 31, 2016, after her father took her older brother who was a bit ill, to his home in Ijesha and said he would return to Ikorodu.
She said that when she came back from her outing, she called her father and asked him where he was and he said he was currently in Yaba to meet his friend.
Lola said: “Then I heard a laugh in the background, that kind of mean laugh, the man was like what do you mean, then he said he’d call back and ended the call . In the evening I tried his number it was not working, I called my uncle they told me he was not there. I called my father’s older brother; he said that my father had already left him.
“Then I started chatting with him, in the middle of the night and Bode Fabiyi, answered the chat and told me he was fine he went to Aguda he will be back the next day he went to his friend in Aguda.
“The second day I called his line he wasn’t answering I told him to take his call he shouldn’t talk to me anymore I was getting scared he said he couldn’t call that he was very busy.
The witness said: “The person in question asked my dad for some vital information, his account number, I was like of course you know you’ve locked your door and your room key is with you, so how do you expect me to open the door he told me to go to the room i told him to take his call so i called my uncle they told me he was not didn’t come. so we started the search, we went to SARS, they told me to keep communicating with him, he was always sending me scary pictures.
“He always told me that he was going to gouge out my father’s eyes and give them to the vulture that he was going to cut his throat, and after he does that he will come after me. He tormented me emotionally. He always said I’m a naughty, heartless kid that I don’t want to sell my dad’s property and probably send him money.
“I told him money is not the problem that he should just let me talk to him, hear his voice and make sure he’s okay. But all the time he was just playing with our intelligence .I was tired because he scared me so I had to delete my whatsapp.Because it was frustrating I had to tell the police that I can’t follow him on whatsapp anymore.It’s after about three weeks i was called by the DSS, in Shangisha they heard what had happened to my father and when i arrived they started showing me the photos of his properties which were found like his phone, the car and afterwards they took him to the morgue,” she said.