A commercial bus driver, Abubakar Aliu his conductor, Aruna Tukur and 15 of his passengers suspected to be terrorists have been sentenced to five years imprisonment by an Ondo State Magistrate Court.
They were jailed after being found guilty of conspiracy and illegal possession firearms.
Other persons convicted by the court were 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.
The defendants were arraigned by the Ondo Security Network Codenamed ‘Amotekun’Corps on three counts of conspiracy, illegal possession of firearms and wondering in public places.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecuting counsel, Barrister Olusegun Akeredolu, told the court that the defendant was arrested on November 4, 2021, along Akure/Ondo highway by the men of the Amoteken Corps after driver attempted to overrun the security agents and sped off.
Akeredolu said the defendants were in possession of firearms (guns and daggers) without a valid license.
He said the defendants were found wondering at a public place at about 2am and under such circumstances that led to the conclusion that they were at the place for an illegal and disorderly purpose.
The offences, according to him, contravened 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.”
But defence Counsel, O. J. Emmanuel and P. O. Attah said the defendants were innocent travellers that boarded a bus from a park in Kaduna heading to Lagos.
Emmanuel told the court that the driver of the bus knew nothing about the sack containing daggers found inside the bus as they were just a message to be delivered to someone in Lagos.
The defendants denied ownership of the sack of weapons found inside the bus
The driver claimed no gun was found in the bus but that the sacks containing knives and daggers were to be delivered to someone in Lagos and he did not bother to know the content of the message.
They were found guilty of two out of the three count charges preferred against them.
Presiding Magistrate, Damilola Sekoni who convicted the defendants said he was satisfied with the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution.
Sekoni found all the defendents guilty of the count one, the driver and the conductor were found guilt of the count two while all the defendents are aquitted of count three.
The Magistrate said both sentences were to run concurrently without an option of fine.
Sekoni added that actions of the defendant were unacceptable in the society and the judgment would serve as deterrent to those who would want to indulge in such act.
The buses conveying the convicts were loaded with 500 pieces of weapons such as guns, knives, cartridges and swords.
Commander of Ondo Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye noted that three buses escaped from different checkpoints in the state but one of them was arrested in Ondo town.
“They had a brief stop just before they entered the town and when our men tried to stop them, the three buses escaped. We had to radio all our control points and we were able to bring the three buses to a stop at a point on Ondo road by a combined team including the police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
“The buses attempted to overrun the security agents and speed off. The speed was so much that they hit the barricades on the road. We discovered that it was difficult pursuing them and didn’t want to cause any accident. So we radioed our station on Owena and the security men there blocked the road.
“On getting there, they were able to escape by hitting the barricades again. We continued pursuing them while we called the Ile-Oluji junction, saying that they should block the road properly but the suspects also escaped. We now had a complete blockade before the Akure garage in Ondo town and we were able to apprehend them.”
Culled from Nation