Evangelist, Five Others to Die by Hanging for Bank Robberies

An Akure High Court, in Ondo state, has sentenced a popular Akure based Evangelist, Adewale Adelu, and five others to death by hanging for robbing two different banks in the state, 13 years ago.

The convicts were said to have robbed the banks and carted away N34m.

Delivering judgement, Justice Yemi Fasanmi, sentenced the convicts which include, Ikechuckwu Maduagwu, Adewale Adelu, Fayemi Olubusuyi, Ropo Adeleye, Dele Otopka, and Bayo Omotosho, for robbing two commercial banks in Akure and Idanre on November 19 and December 8, 2011 in Akure and Idanre.

Justice Fasanmi, said that “the prosecution was able to prove the offence of armed robbery against all the convicts beyond reasonable doubt.

The convicts, were arraigned on July 14, 2022, on four counts charge of conspiracy, armed robbery, and illegal possession of firearms and were remanded in Olokuta Correctional Centre.

Recall that the Prosecuting Counsel, F.K Salami had told the court that the convicts and others while armed with AK 47 guns, dynamite, and other dangerous weapons at Oyemekun road, Akure, conspired to attack and robbed Diamond Bank Plc, where they carted away the sum of N30 million and different brand of phones, including other valuable property.

Also, the prosecutor said that convicts on December 8, 2011, at 2 pm, allegedly robbed First Bank Plc at Yaba Road, Idanre, where they took away the sum of N4 million.

Salami added that the defendants and others at large attacked a church around Adaba FM, Ilara-Mokin at 12:45 pm, and robbed two pastors, Jeremiah Adanlawo and D.O Ajayi of their cars with number plates JU522EKY and JV322EKY respectively.

The prosecution, said that the offences contravene Sections 6b, 1 2a, and b of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap R11, Vol. 14 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the offences preferred against them.

A staff of the bank while giving evidence during the trial narrated how the armed robbers gained entrance into the banking hall fully armed with guns.

According to him “We suddenly heard sporadic gunshots in the bank premises. And they thereafter, blasted the entrance of the bank to gain access to the banking hall.

“One of the robbers who was masked, asked me to open the box and he packed away all the money in the box, including naira and dollars. And in the process, a policeman identified as Olowoyelu was shot dead.”

The convicts, in their separate confessional statements admitted to taking part in the robbery operations in Akure and Idanre.

They explained their individual roles during the robbery incident and also confessed to gathering inside a bush at the back of a church in Idanre road, Akure, with some gang of robbers from Lagos, Port-Harcourt, and South East.

According to the defendants, their colleagues from outside the state capital, supplied them with ammunition they used for the operations.

They equally explained how the proceeds from the robbery operations were shared among them.

In his verdict, Justice Fasanmi, said that “although no eyewitness and evidence directly linked the defendants to the commission of the crime, the confessional statements of each of the defendants copiously corroborated with the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, including the evidence of their arrest and how they were arrested.

The trail judge, said that the offence of conspiracy was proven beyond doubt as the robbery was coordinated via phone call by the second defendant, Evangelist Adelu who resides in Akure.

Justice Fasanmi also said “the defendants were unanimous in their confessions and the role each of them played in the robberies.

He therefore, sentenced the six defendants to death by hanging in each of the counts.

Vanguard / Saudat Adetunji

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