FOR finding him guilty of robbery, Justice Atinuke Ipaye of a Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja, yesterday, sentenced a bus conductor, Sunday Olalekan to 21 years imprisonment.
The convict, 22-year-old, was said to have robbed one Nkong Remi on February 14, 2013 (Valentine Day) and charged to court by the Lagos State government.
He pleaded not guilty on a one-count charge of robbery and thereafter, trial commenced.
The state alleged that Olalekan, on the said date, at Gani Fawehinmi Garden Ojota, in the Ikeja Judicial Division, robbed the victim (Remi) of her handbag, phones and other valuables.
According to the prosecutor, Mr. Akin George, the offence was contrary to Section 294 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
During trial, Remi (victim) in her testimony had told the court that she was driving an Ash Colour 4runner SUV on February 14, 2013, going to drop her sister at the park around 6:15am when the robbery took place.
She said: “There was small traffic jam so we slowed down. I heard a loud shout and as I turned to my side, there was a black boy with a mark on his eye; he was accompanied by two other boys. He came to the car window and forced it down. The other two boys jumped in.”
She further explained that the assailants also robbed her sister; rough handled her and fondled her breast before she could drive off.
“I returned back to Gani Fawehinmi’s park around 7am and asked the boys at the park and they told me that some boys were caught and taken to Alausa Police Station. When I arrived the station they asked me if I could recognize the boys and I said yes I would recognize the one with a swollen eye. They took me in and I recognised him (convict),”she added.
In his own defence, the convict, who testified in Yoruba language, denied the entire allegation. He claimed to have gone to 7up at Ojota to wait for his boss (Tunde) but did not see him.
“I met one Jelili, a co-conductor whom we work with Tunde. After waiting for Tunde till 06:00pm and we did not see him, Jelili suggested that we should go to the new garage to see if we can see another motor to work with. We were approaching New Garage when we saw those PSG people at Owens Park and claimed that some people have robbed a motorist not quite long.
“They stated further that we are the people that robbed them. They started beating us and later handed us over to the police. I did not rob any person or persons,” the convict stated.
The presiding judge while delivering judgment, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, held that the testimony of Remi (victim) was unshaken during cross-examination and she was able to identify the assailant (Olalekan) because he was close to his hand in her dress to rough handle her and fondle her breast, looking for money.
“I have carefully considered the total evidence of the prosecution. The essential ingredient is that there must be a robbery and the accused was one of those who took part in the robbery. However none of the stolen items were recovered.
“I have carefully studied Exhibit 1, which is the statement of the defendant. The defendant was in the company of his friend (Jelili) when he was arrested on February 14, 2013.
“In the light of what I have said, I hereby find you Sunday Olalekan guilty of the offence of robbery and sentence you to 21 years imprisonment as stated by law,” the judge ruled.