court sentences man to death for killing 7 DSS officers in Ikorodu
Justice Hakeem Oshodi of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, yesterday, sentenced two convicted pipeline vandals, Clement Ododomu to death by hanging and Tiwei Monday to 16 years imprisonment for killing seven officers of the Department of State Security (DSS).
The court had on October 11, 2023, found them guilty as charged by the state government and convicted them but adjourned sentence to yesterday after listening to mercy plea by their counsel.
The state government had alleged that the suspects killed officers of DSS on September 14, 2015, at Ishawo Creek, Ikorodu, Lagos State. Justice Oshodi found Ododomu guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, murder and possession of firearms.
In his judgement, Oshodi said he had carefully considered the facts before the court, and the demeanor of the convicts, which he termed as ‘unremorseful’.
He said that the allocated by the defendant’s counsel, Mr. Olusegun Akande, who had urged the court to temper justice with mercy, was replied by the Director, Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr Babajide Martins that the offences by the defendant were grave on the officers while on duty and that the court should apply the maximum sentences available.
“The court has considered the allocates of the defence counsel, however, the position of the law is binding to us all. As noted above, the first defendant was convicted on counts one, five, seven, nine and 10. While the second defendant is convicted on counts one and 10. This is contained in the information filed dated January 13, 2017. The provisions of these sections of the law are as follows: on count one, the court convicted the first and second defendants on the count. This count is brought contrary to the provision of Section 233 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2015, liable to a conviction of 14 years.
“On counts five and seven, the first defendant guilty of these counts, which is contrary to the provision of Section 233 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015, which provides that anyone who commits murder shall be sentenced to death. On count nine, the first defendant is brought under Section 298 (3) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015, hence, liable to not less than 14 years but not more than 20 years imprisonment” he said.
Also, on count 10, both the first and second defendants were convicted under Section 410 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015 and are liable to two years imprisonment.
According to Justice Oshodi, the claim of defence that the defendants were in Lagos for the funeral of their grandmother was a ruse. “Defence failed to provide essential witnesses to corroborate the claim.”
The court further held that the prosecution was not able to prove that the second defendant was guilty of murder. He noted that evidence before the court showed that it was one Agbala and the first defendant who killed the operatives.
The court held that the prosecution was able to prove that the two defendants participated in the ambush of the operatives and therefore discharged and acquitted the convicts on counts two, three, four, six and eight because the prosecution was unable to prove the allegations against them.
He said: “The court has observed the demeanor of the defendants and concluded that they felt no remorse with regards to the allegations they were facing. They informed the court that they did not understand the English language, whereas, in the recording, they both were conversing in English. The first and second defendants are hereby sentenced to 14 years imprisonment on count 10. The first and second defendants are hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment on count nine.
“The first defendant is hereby sentenced to imprisonment for 20 years. The terms of imprisonment for both defendants will run concurrently. For count five and seven, which the court has found the first defendant guilty of, the sentence of the court upon you is that you be hanged by the neck until you are dead and may God have mercy on your soul.”
The Lagos State Government had disclosed that DSS received a distress call from an editor of Sun newspaper (name withheld) on September 14, 2015, about the kidnap of his wife at their residence.
It was reported that the state command of DSS consequently dispatched a nine-man team to carry out surveillance to ascertain the location of the kidnappers who were negotiating for a ransom.
The prosecution had told the court that in the evening of that day, one of the DSS team members, Mr. Martins Ajayi, sent a distress text message to the command headquarters to the effect that the team had been ambushed by vandals and their weapons seized.
The prosecution said the convicts committed the offences on September 14, 2015, in Ishawo Creek, Ikorodu, Lagos. And they were subsequently arraigned on a 10-count charge.
The offence bordering on conspiracy to commit murder, murder and illegal possession of firearms, contrary to Section 223 and 298 (3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of 2015.