An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure has sentenced three persons who kidnapped three Reverend Sisters at Onipetesi area along Ore-Lagos Highway to death by hanging.
The three convicts, alongside four others, were initially arraigned for the crime in June 2016 after collecting a ransom of N1 million for the release of their victims.
The seven-man gang kidnapped Rev. Sister Perpetual Apo, Rev. Sister Bukola Funmilade and their driver, Mr. Zwugwa Zibai, in May 2016 at Kajola Village in Odigbo Local Council of the state.
They were Reuben Akinbehinje (a.k.a. Chairman), his wife, Abimbola Akinbehinje; Saheed Oyewo (a.k.a. Olaoluwa), Seun Lajuwomi (a.k.a. Ebile), John Imoleayo Uche (a.k.a. Uchenna), Seun Iseoluwa Akintan (a.k.a. Egbegbe) and Lateef Fayemi Hammed.
According to police report, Akinbehinje, who is physically challenged, did not actively participate in the kidnapping due to his health condition but he allegedly gave out information about their victims to other members of the gang.
While his wife, Abimbola, was the custodian of the armoury used by the gang that was allegedly led by a member of the gang, who had also been arrested by the police and currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
“The couple confessed to be members of the gang that abducted two reverend sisters named Perpetual Apo, Bukola Familade and their driver, Zwugwa Zibai, in May 2016 at Ore-Sagamu Expressway,” the police report read earlier.
An eight-count charge of conspiracy, kidnapping, armed robbery, aiding and abetting and accessory after the fact were preferred against them for keeping their victims hostage for 11 days in the bush until ransom was paid.
A DSS official, who testified during trial, Johnson Siunu, said the kidnappers were tracked and arrested through the phone number they used to negotiate and monitor the delivery of ransom payment.
Oyewo, however, died in prison while Abimbola Akinbehinje, wife of Reuben, who was charged of being an accessory after the fact, was fined N50,000.
In his judgment, Justice Ademola Adegoroye, who said the prosecution could not produce any evidence against Akintan and Fayemi and therefore discharged them, found Reuben Akinbehinje, Uche and Lajuwomi guilty of all the charges and sentenced them to death by hanging.
The judge said the prosecution proved the case of conspiracy, armed robbery and kidnapping against the three convicts and sentenced them to death accordingly.
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