A Yola High Court presided by Honourable Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri on Wednesday, convicted and sentenced a 500 level Student of Moddibo Adama University, Yola and five others to death by hanging for conspiracy and armed robbery.
The Student, Munbe Bala of the Department of Mathematics and Education was convicted along side a former staff of Nigeria Communication Satellite, Abuja, Afu Stephen.
Others are Peter Eli, Hassan Yusuf, Bobi Mabudi and Emmanuel Kenneth.They were earlier arraigned before the Court on 5 count charges bordering conspiracy and armed robbery as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th defendants.
Upon their arraignment, the accused persons and now convicts pleaded not guilty to the offences, and in order to prove its case, the prosecution called 8 witnesses and tendered 6 documents which were accordingly admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits.
According to particulars of claim, the suspects had on 29th and 31st August, 2015 respectively in Boshikiri town, Guyuk Local Government Area agreed to carry out an illegal act by mounting illegal road block on a bridge along Lafiya -Savannah Sugar company in Lamurde Local Government Area.
It averred that Afu Stephen and Munbe Bala (1st and 6nd defendants and now convicts) as well as 4 other convicts mounted the road block with drums and stones used in constructing the road, while armed with offensive weapons and robbed the said travellers of their belongings.
It added that the convicts had formed a common intention to commit robbery while armed with offensive weapons such as single barrel gun and locally made pistol, cutlass, knife, and used military jacket where they attacked passengers and carted away with their property such as money and handsets.
In their extra judicial confessional statements, the convicts narrated that they first blocked the road on the 29th August, 2015 where they stopped a Toyota starlet coming from Gombe state and robbed the occupants of 6 mobile phones and got #9, 500 and shared #1,500.
They added that on the 31st August, 2015 at about 10:00pm, they went back to the same spot fully armed and blocked the road again, narrating that they blocked 3 trucks conveying cement, banana and stock fish and that when the drivers saw them, they packed their vehicles and ran inside the bush.
According to them, they searched the vehicles and realised the sum of N11,200 and 4 handsets, saying that on their way back home, they met with the vigilante group who fired gun shots twice, and that they ran inside a maize farm and were apprehended the following day.
But delivering its judgement on the case, the court presided over by Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri, convicted and sentenced the 6 defendants to death by hanging, saying that the sentence shall be by hanging of each of the convicts until certified death.
The court convicted the 1st defendant on counts (1), (2), (3) and (4), while the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants were convicted on counts (1), (2) and (3) respectively. The 6 defendant was convicted on counts (1), (2), (3) and (5) respectively.
According to him, he would have given consideration to the plea of mercy made by the defence counsel , but as the law stands, he has no discretion to temper justice with mercy and resolved the 2 decoded issues in favour of the prosecution and against the defendants..
He held that he was unable to agree with the submission of the counsel of the defendant that they were not properly identified to warrant their conviction, saying that the statements of the defendants which they admitted being at the scene of the robbery incidence of 29th and 31st August, 2015 has rendered the identification parade of the defendants unnecessary.
Earlier, counsel to the convicts, F A Ogbe prayed the court to temper justice with mercy considering the fact that the convicts have been at a correctional service facility since 2015 when they were nabbed.
F. A Ogbe told the court that the convicts are young men and students and can be responsible in the society tomorrow.
On her part, Counsel to the prosecution, Salamatu Abdullahi Gurin, said that nothing criminal is known about the convicts.