Armed Robbery: 500 Level MAUTECH Student, 5 Others to Die by Hanging in Yola

The convicts, according to F. A. Ogbe, are young men and students who can be productive people in the future.
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Death by Hanging (illustration image)

On Wednesday 10th February 2021, a Yola High Court presided over by Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri convicted and sentenced a 500-level Moddibo Adama University (MAU) Yola student and five others to death by hanging for conspiracy and armed robbery.

Munbe Bala, a student in the Department of Mathematics and Education, was found guilty alongside Afu Stephen, a former employee of Nigeria Communication Satellite in Abuja.

Peter Eli, Hassan Yusuf, Bobi Mabudi, and Emmanuel Kenneth are among the others. They were previously charged as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th defendants in a five-count conspiracy and armed robbery case.

The convicted individuals, now convicts, pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignment, and the prosecution called eight witnesses and presented six documents to prove its case, which were admitted in court and marked as exhibits.

According to the claim's particulars as reported by FOMBINA TIMES, the suspects agreed to commit an illegal act on the 29th and 31st of August 2015 in Boshikiri district, Guyuk Local Government Area, by erecting an illegal roadblock on a bridge along the Lafiya-Savannah Sugar Company in Lamurde Local Government Area.

It was alleged that Afu Stephen and Munbe Bala (1st and 6th defendants and now convicts), as well as four other convicts, armed with offensive weapons, mounted the road block with drums and stones used in the construction of the road and robbed the said travelers of their belongings.

It went on to say that the convicts had formed a plan to rob people while armed with offensive weapons like a single barrel gun, a locally made pistol, a cutlass, a knife, and a military jacket, and that they assaulted passengers and carted away their belongings like money and cellphones.

The convicts said in their extrajudicial confessional statements that they first blocked the road on August 29, 2015, when they stopped a Toyota Starlet coming from Gombe state and robbed the occupants of six cellphones, receiving N9,500 and sharing N1,500.

They went back to the same spot fully armed and blocked the road again on August 31, 2015, at around 10:00 p.m., narrating that they blocked three trucks transporting cement, bananas, and stock fish, and that when the drivers saw them, they packed their vehicles and fled into the forest.

According to them, they searched the vehicles and discovered N11,200 and four cellphones. They also said that on their way back home, they encountered a vigilante group who fired two gun shots at them, and that they fled into a maize field, where they were arrested the next day.

However, the court, presided over by Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri, found the 6 defendants guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging, stating that each prisoner would be hanged until declared dead.

The first defendant was found guilty of counts (1), (2), (3), and (4), while the second, third, fourth, and fifth defendants were convicted on counts (1), (2), and (3), respectively.  The six defendants was convicted on Counts (1), (2), (3), and (5) respectively.

According to him, he would have given consideration to the plea of mercy made by the defense counsel, but as the law stands, he has no discretion to temper justice with mercy and resolved the 2 decoded issues in favor of the prosecution and against the defendants.

He held that he was unable to agree with the submission of the counsel of the defendant that they were not properly identified to warrant their conviction, saying that the statements of the defendants which they admitted being at the scene of the robbery incidence of 29th and 31st August 2015 has rendered the identification parade of the defendants unnecessary.

Earlier, the convicts' advocate, F A Ogbe, pleaded with the court to temper justice with grace, citing the fact that the suspects have been in a correctional institution since their detention in 2015.

The convicts, according to F. A. Ogbe, are young men and students who can be productive people in the future.

Salamatu Abdullahi Gurin, counsel for the prosecution, said that nothing criminal is known about the convicts.