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Landmark judgement


SUIT NO. KWS/31C/2011
THE STATE …………………………………….} COMPLAINANT
The accused, Abdulraheem Ademola Yunusa is standing trial on a two count charge of conspiracy to commit an illegal act and Armed Robbery contrary to SS. 6 (b) and 1 (2) of Armed Robbery and Fire Arms (Special provision) Act Cap R11, Laws of the Federation of Nigerian, 2004.
On 17/10/2012, the prosecution by an application, sought to amend the charge and join one Mufutau Safi as co-accused for an offence of receiving stolen property viz. Mercedes Benz Jeep 320 with Registration No. Lagos EA 55 LSR property of Alhaji Sheu Dan-Imam. Contrary to S. 317 of Penal Code.
The accused pleaded not guilty to both counts while Mufutau Safi also pleaded not guilty to the 3rd count of receiving stolen property.
However, after the 1st accused, Abdulraheem Ademola Yunusa has closed his defence and it was the turn of Mufutau Safi to enter his defence, he was nowhere to be found.
The DPP later informed the court on 11/1/2016 that the said Mufutau Safi has been reportedly killed in Lagos by the SARS, i.e. (Special Anti-Robbery Squad). And so, the charge against Mufutau Safi was dropped while the prosecution continues with the accused before the court.
The prosecution in its bid to establish the case against the accused called 9 witnesses and tendered 34 items and 2 documents as Exhibit 1-34 and A and B respectively.
The prosecution’s case is that on 17/11/2010, a date after Meya festival in the morning, Alhaji Shehu Dan-Imam (PW.2) was in his house at Gbagba Oke-odo, Airport Road, Ilorin together with members of his family when he heard a knock at his gate. When the gate was opened, it was the accused and one other armed with gun.
The accused threatened to kill him and members of his family if they dared to shout. Thus, the accused collected the 2 phones and N10,000.00 belonging to Alhaji Shehu Dan-Imam while he said it is not enough.
He later turned to the wife of PW.2, who led him into her room. She gave her gold neck chain to the accused but the accused still said it is not enough.
He requested for the laptop of the complainant’s daughter and same was released to him. The accused came out of the room and requested for the key to the Mercedes Benz Jeep of the complainant and again it was given to him while he drove away the car withal the properties stolen from them.
After the accused had left, the matter was reported to the police and few weeks later the accused was traced to Peace Hotel at Adewole, Ilorin where he was arrested.
In his defence on oath, the accused denied that he committed the alleged offences. According to him, he was in his house at Adewole on 17/11/2010 between 9:00am to 10.00am. Later, he said, he left for his family house at Kuntu Area to join other members of the family in a special prayer, while he got back to his house at Adewole around 11.30am.
He said he did not go out to anywhere other than the family house at Kuntu on that day. He said it was not until 11/12/2010 at about 11.00am that he was arrested by the police at Adewole Peace Guest House.
At the close of his defence, counsel on both sides filed their respective written addresses and adopted same on 21/4/2016.
In his final written address dated and filed on 8/2/2016, Taiye Oniyide, counsel for the accused formulated three (3) issues for determination viz:
1.    Whether the prosecution proved the ingredients of armed robbery against the accused person,
2.    Whether the prosecution proved the ingredients of criminal conspiracy against the accused person; and
3.    Whether the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt to warrant the judgment of this Hon. Court in their favour.
For his part, learned prosecuting counsel, J.A. Mumini Esq. (DPP) submitted two issues for determination viz:
1.    Whether the prosecution has established a case of criminal conspiracy and armed robbery against the accused person
The same witness however stated under cross-examination as follows:
Yinusa was with me in the family house on the 2nd day of Ileya festival from 10:00am to 12:00noon, we have finished the prayer before Yinusa left for his house.
We slaughtered the 2nd ram on 17/11/2010.
Yinusa did not participate in the slaughtering of the 2nd ram because he was sick.
We went to visit the 1st  accused around 1:00pm and left him around 3:00pm.
From the above. I cannot but agree with the  learned DPP that the plea of alibi set up by the accused is not only inconsistent and shifty, but that same is contradictory, baseless and self-defeating.
With the contradictions in the evidence of the accused and his  witness, it is obvious that it is either the accused that was telling  lies or  that the witnesses were unsincere. Definitely, they cannot all be sincere and honest in their evidence.
The implication f this is that none of evidence will be believed by this court. It is trite that where a written statement to the police contradict his evidence in court, the court should regard hima s an unreliable witness and discountenance both his statement to the police and his testimony in court.
See: OKAFOR VS. THE STATE (2006) 4 NWLR (PT.969)1
AMUSA VS. STATE (2002) 2 NWLR (PT.750)73
Like  I said earlier in this judgment, apart from the evidence led by the prosecution and the identification of the accused by the victims of the robbery operation, the recovery of Exh. 15, or shirt allegedly worn by the accused on the day of the incident clearly fixes the accused at the scene of crime.
In AJAYI VS. THE STATE (2013) ALL FWLR (PT.711) 1457X 1479
The Supreme Court held:
There is nothing extraordinary or esoteric in a plea of alibi.
Such a plea postulates that the accused person could not have been at the scene of the crime and only inferentially that he was not there. Even if it is the duty of the prosecution to check on a statement of alibi by an accused person and disprove the alibi or attempt to do so, there is a flexible and verifiable way of doing this.
If the prosecution adduces sufficient evidence to fix the person at the scene of the crime at the material time, surely, his alibi is thereby logically and physically demolished.
See also: ARCHIBONG VS. THE STATE (2006) ALL FWLE (PT 323) 1747.
I am of the view that the evidence left by the prosecution in this case directs that they know the accused as the robber who robbed them on 17/11/2010 because he was not masked and also that the robbery operation occurred in a broad day light around 9:00am.
I am not unmindful of the submission of learned DPP that from Exh. A, it was clear that the Mercedez Benz Jeep stolen from the PW.2 during the robbery operation was disposed by the accused person to the 2nd accused who’s now reportedly killed by the SARS in Lagos.
I am however on the same page with learned counsel to the accused that Exh. A being statement of the co-accused, different from his evidence oath is inadmissible against the accused person.
The case of: ADEBOWALE VS. STATE (@)!#) 15 NWLR (PT. 1379) 104 X 737. Cited by learned counsel to the accused to the accused has argued that  some caution need to be taken in accepting the testimonies of PW.4, PW.5 and PW.6 because of the blood relationship with the PW.2.
It is instructive to state that however that relationship by blood without more cannot be tantamount to a disqualification from being a prosecution witness.
See: OGUOHZEE VS. THE STATE (1998) 4SC. 110 x 138.
On the whole, I hold that the prosecution has proved the offence of Armed Robbery against the accused beyond doubt. I hereby find him guilty of the offence as charged and I accordingly convict him.
The punishment for Armed Robbery is as stipulated by law, I therefore have no  choice in the matter.
Accordingly, I sentence the accused to death by hanging.
J. A.  Mumknk (DPP) for the State with him are:
S. G. Mohammed (Mrs) Sc. 1
A. O. Ahmed (Mrs) SC 1 and
C. I. Ezeala (Miss)
Taiye Oniyide Esq with him are:
Alex Owoeyo Esq.
Miracle Akusobe Esq
Vinande Obiene Esq and for the accused.

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