An Okene High Court in Kogi State has sentenced two kingpins of a cross-border cattle rustling syndicate, Muhammed Lawal Jauro and Yusuf Sanni, to death by hanging as they were found guilty of the charges brought against them.
The accused were charged with criminal conspiracy to commit armed robbery, criminal conspiracy to commit criminal homicide and culpable homicide, all of which contravened sections of the penal code.
The police prosecutor had told the court that sometime in January 2016, one Dauda Abdullahi made a report of the murder and theft of his cows in one of the farm settlements in Okene area of the state.
It was learnt, upon investigation, the accused persons were arrested at Ajase-Ipo in Kwara State while their leader, Awaijo Wetti, was still at large at the time of the prosecution.
The prosecutor said that the convicts admitted committing the offences together with the said leader when they narrated how they came together and subsequently inflicted machete cuts on their victim in his farm until he died and eventually stole his cows which they took to Ajase-Ipo 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, as both of them explained how they conspired with their other gang members to commit the crime.
The judge, however, 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 recovered in the bush where they kept them.”
On their denial of the offence during the trial, 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.”
Ruling 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.
The court then sentenced them to 28 years each on the first three- count charges, before sentencing 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,” the judge said in his sentence.