Commercial motorcyclist [okada] sentenced to death for armed robbery

A Nigerian High court in the central city of Makurdi, Benue State on Monday sentenced a 27 year-old man, Oloche Omale, to death by hanging for criminal conspiracy and armed robbery.

Omale was found guilty for conspiring with Analegh Donko, now deceased, to rob two women, Iveren Mbatamen and Hembadoon Dzege of their possessions at gun point in 2007.

In his judgment, Justice Aondover Kaka’an, held that even though the convict claimed that it was the deceased that was an armed robber, he still conveyed him to his destination.

Kaka’an held that the convict’s claim of innocence was fake, adding that Omale was an accomplice in the crime.

“Besides, I watched the demeanour of the accused while he testified and he appeared to me capable of speaking from both sides of his mouth,’’ Kaka’an said.

The judge, however, said that based on the plea of the convict, the court recommended to the committee on prerogative of mercy to give the case a pathetic consideration.

The victims had testified that they were waiting for a taxi when the convict and his accomplice came on a motorcycle and dispossessed them of N81,190, two phones and handbags.They said in separate testimonies before the court that they raised alarm and the robbers immediately took off while, Nguemo Atii, assisted them in his car to apprehend them

The prosecution said the offence was punishable under sections 5(b) and 1(2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms Act.

Omale had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The convict, who did not call any witness, testified that he was only a motorcyclist conveying Donko but did not know that his passenger was a robber.

When cross-examined by the prosecution, Mr Joshua Ityoyer, on why he waited for Donko when he discovered that he was a robber, the convict explained that he picked Donko for N150 and was only waiting to give him the balance.

In his final address, Ityoyer said that the convict was just trying hard to retract his confessional statement to the police.

According to him, his extra-judicial statement is at variance with his evidence and urged the court not to accept the evidence.

The Counsel to the convict, Mr N.D.A. Emmanuel, said that prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

He said the prosecution could not establish all the ingredients of the offence by leading cogent and credible evidence linking the convict with the crime.

The counsel further submitted that the convict had no gun and that non was traced to his house when it was searched.

Omale, however, in his allocutus, pleaded for leniency, insisting that he did not commit the crime.