LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- A Magistrates Court sitting in Akure, Ondo state capital, has sentenced a bus driver, his conductor and 15 passengers, suspected to be terrorists to five years in prison for conspiracy and illegal possession of firearms.
The defendants were reportedly arrested and charged to court by the operatives of the Western Nigeria Security Outfit, Amotekun on three counts of conspiracy, illegal possession of firearms and wandering in public places.
According to the Prosecuting counsel, Barrister Olusegun Akeredolu, the defendants were arrested on 4 November, 2021, along Akure expressway after the buses they were travelling in attempted to overrun the security agents and sped off.
Akeredolu said the defendants conspired with the driver not to wait for the officers of the law when they were asked to stop.
The prosecutor added that the defendants were in possession of firearms without a valid license.
The defendants were also said to be found wandering in a public place at about 2 am and under such circumstances, led to the conclusion that they were at the place for an illegal purpose.
According to the charge, the offences contravene Section 516 and 260 of the Criminal Code Law of Ondo State, 2006 and Section 6(b) cap R11 Robbery and Firearms (special provision) Act, laws of the Federation 2004.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, individually denied ownership of the sack of weapons found inside the bus and maintained that they were just passengers.
Defense counsels, O.J. Emmanuel and P.O. Attah told the Court that the defendants were innocent travelers who boarded a bus from a park in Kaduna heading to Lagos.
Magistrate Damilola Sekoni convicted the defendants after they were found guilty of two out of the three counts charge against them.
The convicts which include, Abubakar Aliu and Aruna Tukur, the driver and his conductor respectively, were sentenced to four-year imprisonment after being found guilty of the second charge of illegal possession of firearms
Other convicts are; Abdularasaq Idris, Rufai Nura Sagri Musa, Imarana Bello, Tasiu Suliaman, Musa Bala, Saliu Saidu, Musur Adamu, Abduhlai Ibrahim, Imarana Yusuf Abdulahi Mustafa and Mubarak Tsalhs, while the sentences are to run concurrently without an option of fine.
The Magistrate said, “I am satisfied with circumstantial evidence given, in the instances of the avalanche of evidence before me, all defendants were guilty of the first charge, the 11th and 13th defendants who are the driver and his conductor, were guilty of the second charge while all the defendants are acquitted of the third count.”
He added that the action of the defendants is unacceptable in society and the judgment would serve as a warning to those who would want to indulge in such acts.