Court Jails Labourer For Life Over Friend’s Murder

Justice Modupe Nicol-Clay of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere has convicted and sentenced a 32-year-old labourer, Philip Ikechi alias ‘Eba’, to life imprisonment for the murder of his friend.

Justice Nicol-Clay handed down the verdict after holding that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The Lagos State government had arraigned the convict before the court on a two-count charge of murder and assault occasioning harm.

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The state had informed the judge that the tragic incident happened on April 14, 2014, at about 8:30am at Plank Bridge in Kemberi Town of Okokomaiko, a Lagos suburb.

The prosecution had stated that Ikechi and his gang members murdered one Puadbei Yaige by stabbing him with a knife and also assaulted one Taofeek Aremu, by striking him with a machete.

The convict had pleaded not guilty to the charge and had put up an alibi, insisting in his defence that he was nowhere near the scene of the crime when Yaige was killed.

However in his judgment on the 7 year old case, Justice Nicol-Clay dismissed the defence maintaining that the state successfully proved that the defendant lied.

The judge held, “In proving the guilt of the defendant in the instant case, the prosecution called five witnesses who gave accounts of facts and synopsis of events that led to the death of the deceased Puadebi Yaige.

“It is trite that when an accused person is fixed at the scene of a commission of the crime, the plea of alibi fails,” the court stated.

She also pointed out that in the instant case, the defendant was duly placed, by evidence, at the crime scene at the material time.

The case of the prosecution rested mainly on eye witnesses accounts of events.

“The first prosecution witness (PW1) stated that he was the one that carried the corpse of the deceased to his father’s house.

“PW2 testified that on April 13, 2014, the defendant (Ikechi) visited his friend Abu and while the defendant was there, he fought with his brother. After the fight, the defendant kept shouting that he would kill everybody and he went and invited his gang to the house to fight.

“Thereafter, the defendant left after informing them that he would retaliate.

“PW3 also stated that on April 14, 2021, he was at Pako Bridge with the deceased and they saw the defendant and his gang, armed with knives, cutlasses and wood.

They started attacking people and everyone started running helter skelter.

“He (PW3) stated that he and the deceased sighted the defendant leading the gang towards them at the bridge at Pako, as a result, they decided to wait since the defendant was their friend.

“However the defendant ordered the gang to stab and kill anybody and in the process, PW3 Taofeek Aremu, was stabbed in the back.

“Thereafter, the deceased shouted the nickname of the defendant “Eba”, begging the defendant not to allow the gang to hurt him.

“But the defendant did not listen and in the process the deceased was injured and he died”.

19th April 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph