By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
An Oyo state High Court sitting in Ibadan on Monday sentenced a former chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Oyo State, Alhaji Mukaila Lamidi Auxiliary to six years imprisonment for his culpability in the mayhem at Iwo road Ibadan during which several persons were killed two years ago,
Also sentenced with the former NURTW Chairman are four other leaders of the union, Saheed Kareem, Abu Kareem, Kazeem Kayode and Taiwo Tijani.
In her judgment, Justice Eni Esan declared that the accused NURTW leaders were charged with a three-count charge of conspiracy, murder and attempted murder and that the prosecution witness, Akeem Agbaje in his evidence told the court he was beside the deceased medical student, Adekunle Adedipupo on the said day when the accused persons with others at large stormed the motor park in a Peugeot 604 belonging to Alhaji Mukaila and two other Micra cars shooting sporadically.
The judge stressed that he also told the court that it was during the shooting that bullet hit the deceased who died immediately while he too sustained serious injuries.
Justice Esan added that during cross examination, the PW 1 told the court that although the incident occurred around 9:45pm, he was able to identify the accused persons with the help of head lights of the cars that lit up the place but that he was not convinced that the witness could identify the accused persons using the head lights.
The judge noted that on the allegations of attempted murder, the court held that since the argument of the PW 1 had failed by identifying the accused through vehicle head light, the charge cannot stand because it was already late in the night, saying,”the court hereby discharged the accused persons on the murder charge”.
Justice Esan further held that the accused persons both in evidence in chief and statement to the police agreed that
the first accused person (Mukaila) is their leader and also said they had been meeting in his Diamond Hotel at Alakia
Isebo, Ibadan and that since the first accused person admitted that he owned guns and the accused were caught in a car with rounds of bullet, they were guilty of conspiracy and sentenced to six years imprisonment each.
Mr Abdul Ganiyu, the prosecution counsel commended the court for its well researched judgment.
Counsel to the accused persons, Barrister Olalekan Ojo urged the court, after finding his client guilty, to reduce the jail term as first time offenders.
It will be recalled that suspected members of two rival NURTW factions had on March 2014, stormed the Iwo road interchange shooting sporadically and destroying vehicles and property.
During the bloody clash, a final year medical student and student union leader, Adekunle Oladipupo was killed while several other persons also died in the crisis which led to the arrest of Lamidi and other members of the rival NURTW and were later charged to court on a three-count charge of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy.