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Driver, Conductor, 15 Travellers Bag 5-year Jail Term Over Illegal Possession Of Arms In Ondo

A Magistrates Court sitting in Akure, the 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 Magistrate, Damilola Sekoni convicted the defendants after they were found guilty of two out of the three counts charge levelled against them.

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 said the action of the defendants is unacceptable in society and the judgment would serve as a deterrent to those who would want to indulge in such acts.

The convicts which include, Abubakar Aliu and Aruna Tukur, the driver and his conductor respectively, were also 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 defendants were arrested and dragged to court by the men of the Western Nigeria Security Outfit, Amotekun on three counts of conspiracy, illegal possession of firearms and wandering in public places.

Prosecuting counsel, Barrister Olusegun Akeredolu, told the court that the defendants were arrested on November 4, 2021, along Akure/ Ondo expressway by the men of the Amoteken Corps after the buses they were travelling with attempted to overrun the security agents and sped off.

Akeredolu said the defendants conspired to commit a felony and 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 (guns and daggers) 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 that led to the conclusion that they were at the place for an illegal and disorderly 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 while the defence counsels, O.J. Emmanuel and P.O. Attah told the Court that the defendants were innocent travellers who boarded a bus from a park in Kaduna heading to Lagos.

Emmanuel explained to the court that the driver of the bus knew nothing about the sack containing daggers found inside the bus, saying it was packed as message given to him to deliver to someone in Lagos, but admitted that the defendants refused to wait when were stopped by the security agents

The defendants in their evidence individually denied the ownership of the sack of weapons found inside the bus, and maintained that they were just passengers.

The driver claimed that no gun was found in the bus and that the sacks containing knives and daggers were message given to him at the park in Kaduna to be delivered to someone in Lagos and he did not bother to know the content of the message.

It will be recalled that 18 persons in a bus conveying weapons in Ondo town was arrested by the men of the Amotekun while the bus was loaded with 500 pieces of weapons such as guns, knives, carriages and swords, concealed inside a sack.

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