A High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti hassentenced an 81-year-old man, Richard Ogunbayo to 25 years imprisonment for themurder of one Felix Esan.
Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, while delivering judgmentin Ado-Ekiti, said the prosecution could not substantiate evidence of murderagainst the convict but a case of manslaughter. He therefore, sentencedOgunbayo to 25 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
Ogunbayo, a retired Colonel of the NigerianArmy, who was the head of a vigilance group in Iyin Ekiti, had pleaded notguilty to a charge of murder preferred against him on December 15, 2016 but theprosecutor, Akomolafe Seyi, told the court that a neighbour who witnessed whenthe deceased was shot, reported the matter at the Divisional PoliceHeadquarters in Igede area of Iyin Ekiti.
He said the neighbour, whose name was notprovided, told the police that the convict accompanied by some of hiscolleagues, stormed the deceased home on the allegation that a thief had hiddenin the compound.
He told the court that when the convictstormed the compound, he ransacked the compound and found the deceased and fourother men in the compound where Esan lived. He also said the other four menimmediately stood up as a sign of respect for the vigilance group but thedeceased sat down. He said that the convict viewed the deceased’s behaviour asrude and disrespectful.
The prosecutor said the convict who wasfurious brought out his Dane gun and shot the deceased while he took the othermen to his house and detained them until the early hours of the morning.
He said that others raised the alarm of thewhereabouts of the deceased and confronted the convict who told them that thedeceased relations had taken him away.
“The deceased was later found in a deep pitalong Awo-Ekiti road,” the prosecutor said.
However, the convict’s counsel, A. T. Lawal,pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy on the grounds that theconvict was only discharging his duties.