Two men, Williams Udoh and Ubong Isaiah convicted for rape and armed robbery, have been sentenced to death by hanging by a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye handed down the verdict on Wednesday, during a remote court sitting and pronounced that the convicts should be hunged on their necks until they die.
Justice Ipaye also sentenced Udoh the first convict to 21 years imprisonment for raping a married woman during their robbery operation, adding that “The prosecutor was able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
She said ” A case is not made by the abundant of witnesses but on the quality of the evidence before the court. Those who were present when the incident occurred, vivid account of the incident and proper identification of the suspects,” Ipaye said.
The Judge also held that all the victims testified that the convicts were armed with guns and weapons, adding that the mere fact that the weapons used were not tendered before the court does not mean that they weren’t armed.
When the matter came up yesterday, the Lagos state prosecuting counsel Ms. Titi Shitta- Bey, Solicitor of Lagos state and permanent secretary announced her appearance while Emmanuel Ohonyon appeared for the first defendant and J. H. Bashiru, represented the second defendant.
The convicts were arraigned on June 13, 2017, on a five-count charge of conspiracy, robbery, armed robbery and unlawful sexual intercourse, preferred against them by the Lagos State government.
They both pleaded not guilty to the charge and they were re-arraigned on July 2017.
The Lagos State Prosecuting Counsel, Mr Akin George had told the court, Udoh and Isaiah, were arraigned that they committed the offence on August 2, 2015.
He said the incident took place between 2am and 5am, at Shepherd Estate, Daramola Street Ijejun, 8 Ologun Street and 10 Aboki Street in Ijegun respectively.
George said that the first convict Williams Udoh raped a married woman, after robbing her of her jewellery, clothes, one handset and her husband.
He said: “Williams Udoh, robbed one Ijeoma Ojiakor of her jewellery, clothes, one handset and also robbed one Michael Ojiakor of his Dell laptop, three Tecno phones and cash of N40,000”.
“Udoh had unlawful sexual intercourse with one Ijeoma Ojiakor 39, without her consent,” George said.
The prosecutor also stated that the convicts and others at large robbed one Esther Adeniran of seven phones and a cash sum of N600,000.
According to him, the offence committed is contrary to and punishable under Sections 297, 295 (2), 258 (1) and 295 (2)(b) of the criminal law of Lagos State 2011.
However, the prosecution called six witnesses and closed its case on June 7, 2018.
The convicts opened their defence on June 7, 2018, and the first convict closed it on January 31, 2019, while the second convict applied to close his defence on March 6, 2019.
On January 21, 2020, both the prosecution and the defence gave their final written addresses.
One of the victims Ijeoma Ojiakor, during trial, testified that on that fateful day at about 2 am, she heard strange voices and saw flashes of light, from her sleep, as she and her husband and five children slept in their living room because of heat, as there was no power supply.
According to her, she then demanded who was that and they said they were armed robbers and ordered them to open the door, but that they broke down their door and then ordered them to cooperate otherwise their lives will be wasted.
The victim said the first convict dragged her inside their bedroom and raped her, adding that it lasted for 10- 15 minutes and ejaculated on her.
She further stated he was sweating heavily and that while she was cleaning her self up, the first convict went to bring out her 8-year-old daughter from the toilet where they locked her and her siblings and took her to the other five gang members to rape her but that they rejected her.
The victim said that before she was dragged into the room and raped, the first convict hit her husband’s head with the butts of a gun and then tied him up.
She added that after reporting the incident at the Isheri Police Station and the case was transferred to SARs, she and her husband were referred to Mirabel sexual referral centre where vaginal examination and HIV test was done and were also counselled.
The victim also said that the robbers were unmasked so she could see their faces as there was a lamp on.
She said that she couldn’t give a statement at Isheri Police station where the convicts were arrested through the help of the Ooduwa Peoples Congress (OPC), security men, because she didn’t want her neighbours to know that she was raped but that she gave her statement at SARs where there was no neighbours.
Another prosecution witness Esther Adediran, a tradol medical clinic attendant also narrated how the convicts broke into her apartment through the window of her kitchen with guns and other dangerous weapons and also threatened to rape her, but that she pleaded with them that she was pregnant.
In her own account, she said that the first convict ordered her to lay down otherwise he would rape her and kill her four children.
Stated that they ransacked her apartment and stole N600,000, from a thrift that she just collected.
She also said that she knew the convicted as the second convict’ s wife had come to give birth at her clinic and that the first convince has also come to visit her.
Meanwhile, after the first convict was arrested he took the OPC men to where the second convict was hiding behind the toilet underneath sacks in the same compound where they lived.