Two sentenced to death for robbing Ekiti monarch

Two men have been sentenced to death for robbing a traditional ruler in Ekiti State.

An Ado-Ekiti High Court on Tuesday sentenced two men, Sola Famuyiwa and Adeniyi Owolabi, to death by hanging.

This is coming barely one day after four men were executed in Edo State despite pressure from civil society groups and the international community.

Tuesday’s sentencing also comes despite mounting calls for the abolition of capital punishment in Nigeria and other countries still applying it.

The men in Ekiti will be hanged for robbing a traditional ruler in Ekiti, Oore of Otun-Ekiti, Joshua Popoola off some items including a beaded crown, 15 bundles of assorted clothes and one Mercedes Benz 280 saloon car.

Other items stolen during the robbery operation included one international passport with two years valid U.S. visa, N350,000 and $16,000.

The convicts committed the offence on April 3, 2002 at the palace of the traditional ruler in Ekiti State.

Nigeria still engages in capital judgement mostly for murder crimes although there has been growing pressure to abolish death penalties based on findings by the 2004 National Study Group on Death Penalty and the 2007 Presidential Commission on the Administration of Justice that showed that Nigeria’s criminal justice system cannot guarantee a fair trial. There had been a de-facto moratorium in Nigeria on death row executions since 2002.There have also been recommendations to outlaw the death penalty.

Execution of convicts is also in violation of the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to life and dignity of human person as encapsulated in Article 4 and 5 of the Charter.

The state counsel handling armed robbers’ case, Oluyemi Akintayo, said the offence contravened Section 1(2) of the Robbery and Firearms Special Provision cap 398 vol.XX11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.She also said the accused committed the crime while armed with offensive weapons such as guns and dynamites.

Justice Monisola Abodunde, in her judgement, said the accused were guilty as charged based on the evidence before the court.

She sentenced the accused persons to death by hanging.

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