A Kwara State High Court has sentenced three to death by hanging for the rape and murder of University of Ilorin student, Olajide Blessing Omowumi, 24.
The convicts were sentenced on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, in Ilorin after a one and half year legal battle.
The 300-level Agricultural Sciences student was found dead in her sister’s home on 2nd June, 2021 with her mouth gagged with clothes and bruises on her private part.
A pathologist at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Dr. Kayode Adeniyi informed the court that the autopsy confirmed she was raped and strangled to death.
Eight prime suspects, Abdulazeez Ismail, Ajala Oluwatimileyin (aka Jacklord), Oyeyemi Omogbolahan, Abdulkarim Shuaib (aka Easy), Kareem Rasheed (Rashworld), Abdullateef Abdulrahman, Daud Adebayo (aka Bashman) and Akande Taiye Oladojawere, were arrested by DSS in connection with the murder and rape.
The trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Adebayo Yusuf who handed down the judgement, convicted 1st, 2nd and 3rd suspects; Abdulazeez Ismail, Ajala Oluwatimileyin and Oyeyemi Omogbolahan, for the offences of culpable homicide punishable with death, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to murder.
The fourth and fifth accused persons were each sentenced to three years in imprisonment for the offence of theft.
Earlier, the court discharged and acquitted 6th, 7th and 8th suspects; Abdullateef Abdulrahman, Daud Bashir Aderayo and Akande Taiye Oladoja on the basis that they were not found guilty of any charges against them.
The 165-typewritten-page judgement, which got almost the whole courtroom shedding tears while being read by Justice Yusuf, saw even the judge weeping openly for more than two minutes while recounting the process of how the deceased was raped, leading to her death.
The judge held that the gang had the intention of theft and rape without the intention to kill, however, added that their act led to homicide.
Speaking on the judgement, the prosecution counsel and former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Salman Jawondo, who started the case as Attorney General of Kwara State, concluded it as a private legal practitioner on pro bono service.
Jawondo, who spoke with journalists after the court session, gave a summary of the court judgement.
“The first, second and third defendants who are the main culprits were found guilty of culpable homicide punishable with death, conspiracy to commit robbery and cospiracy to murder. They were accordingly sentenced to death, which is the maximum. There’s no discretion for the court to exercise by virtue of provision of the armed robbery Act, it’s death. So also by virtue of section 221 of the penal code, it’s death sentence for culpable homicide. So, they were accordingly sentenced to death.” he said
“Although, the third defendant, who was also convicted of rape was sentenced to life imprisonment, but it’s neither here nor there. When somebody is condemned, the life imprisonment does not ameliorate anything.”