Friends bag 10-year jail term over kidnap of businessman

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From BAMIGBOLA GBOLAGUNTE, Osogbo

An Osun State High Court yesterday sentenced two friends, Fawole Abimbola and Peter Tominiyi to 10-year imprisonment for kidnapping an Osogbo-based businessman, Alhaji Rauf Olaiya and one Mrs Victoria Babatunde.

Olaiya, a famous businessman in Osogbo, Osun State capital, was kidnapped on March 20, 2011 in Osogbo, while Mrs Babatunde was kidnapped on August 6, 2011 at Inisha in Odo-Otin Local Government Area of the state.

The convicts, who were both friends, were said to have been involved in the kidnap of the two people and they had since 2011 been standing trial over the case, following their arrest and subsequent detention by the police.

The convicts had upon the kidnap of Olaiya received a ransom of N300 million from him, while they received a ransom of $500 from Mrs Babatunde.

Ruling on the case yesterday, Justice Oyejide Falola sentenced the two accused persons to 10 years imprisonment at the Federal Prison, Ilesa.

The convicts, who were tried on an eight-count charge including kidnap, conspiracy, attempted murder, armed robbery and threat to life, were to run their jail term for each of the charges concurrently.

Justice Falola, who decried the high level of decadence in the country, lamented that the convicts would spend their golden age in prison, stressing that the convicts should be removed from the society in order not to commit further crime.

He also accused the police of failing to charge the convicts with armed robbery case, as according to him, it was the court that included armed robbery in the charges when the case was brought to court.

Counsel to the convicts, Mr Edmond Biriomoni had earlier prayed the court to temper justice with mercy but admitted after the judgment that the conviction of his clients would serve as corrective measure and not condemnation.

However, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the state Ministry of Justice, Mr Dapo Adeniji, who represented the state government, commended the presiding judge for the judgment.

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