01 March 2016, Lagos—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, sentenced nine accused, charged with the murder of nine policemen in Arepo, Ogun State and pipeline vandalism to 12 years imprisonment each.
The court however, discharged and acquitted 11 others of the offence on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish a case against them. The convicts are Felix Yayu, 25; Yakubu Ebiwei, 45; Augustine Ebiwei, 28; Owei Atile, 37; Atinuke Odewale, 42; Ijoufaya Legbe, 42; Ahmed Bashorun, 42; Odewale Waheed, 43 and Tuesday Filatei, 36.
The accused were charged by the police on 14 counts charge of pipeline vandalism, illegal transportation and sale of refined petroleum products and unlawful murder of nine policemen.
In his judgment, trial judge, Justice Okon Abang sentenced the accused to a term of 10 years imprisonment on count 1, and a term of 12 years imprisonment on count 2, 3 and 4 respectively, while he discharged them of counts five to 14.
The judge said that the term of imprisonment shall run concurrently, beginning from the date of delivering same. “The seed of wrong doing maybe sown in secret, but the harvest cannot be hidden, today is the day of harvest for the convicts. While reviewing evidence in this matter, I came to a conclusion that the following convicts Felix Yayu, Ijoufaya Legbe, Yakubu Ebiwei, Tuesday Filatei, Owei Atile and Augustine Ebiwei, have no sympathy for the corporate existence of this country and her citizens.
“Inspite of the genuine efforts made by Federal and Lagos State Governments to protect NNPC pipelines, they felt that vandalising the pipeline and killing the policemen sent to guide pipeline, was the best.
“The facts of this case are miserable, sordid, shameful to remember and ghastly to believe. Even though they have not been convicted of killing the nine policemen, it is not in doubt that they all conspired to do so in cold blood
“Imagine one of the convict Tuesday Filatei, taking photographs of how the policemen were burnt to ashes. The convicts before me are wicked, heartless and harbingers of evil. The conduct of the convict has reflected the moral decay we find ourselves. The convicts sowed the wind and they must harvest the whirlwind.
“They expect the court to show mercy when they had no mercy for their fellow human beings. A drastic situation requires a drastic solution, and a decision of a court of law in a situation like this, will act as deterrent. Even though others will not learn, I have to do my duty.
“I hereby sentence the convicts Felix Yayu, Ijoufaya Legbe, Yakubu Ebiwei, Augustine Ebiwei, Owei Atile, and Tuesday Filatei, to a term of 10 years imprisonment on count one, and a term of 12 years imprisonment on counts 2, 3 and 4 with effect from today (yesterday).
“The convicts, Ahmed Bashorun, Atinuke Odewale and Odewale Waheed are sentenced to a term of three years imprisonment on counts one to four with effect from June 1, 2014. On account of the plea for mercy by counsels to the accused, the terms of imprisonment shall run concurrently, I so hold.”