From the Court

Igbo Owu Community Crisis: Court orders warring parties to embrace peace


Stories by Kayode Adeoti

The Magistrate Court sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, yesterday, ordered warring parties in Igbo Owu, a community in Ifelodun Local Government Area, to shun internal crisis and embrace peace for development to strive in the ancient town.
The order came on the heels of sentence handed down by Magistrate Muhammed Ibrahim against a chief in the community, Engineer Saka Bangbola and one Lasisi Subaru.
The duo had earlier been convicted by the court for the offence of criminal conspiracy and forgery but sentence was reserved till yesterday, (Wednesday) on the case.
The magistrate in his ruling, sentenced the convicts to 6 months imprisonment for the offence of criminal conspiracy with an option of fine of N5,000.
The convicts also bagged 5 years jail term for the offence of forgery with N15,000 option of fine.
The prosecutor, Daibu Agboola Abdulkadri, while speaking with the newsmen after the court session, expressed satisfaction over the ruling; saying he’s more particular about peace of the community.
He said that for over four years, the community has been experiencing developmental set back following series of court cases that came up as a result of the convicts’ fragrant violation to the rule of law.
According to him, Bangbola started threatening peace of the community when he contested for the stool of the traditional head (Oba) and lost; adding that he had since then, nursed grievances against the sitting monarch.
He said that Bangbola used the community name to register an association with which he fraudulently used to collect N2million from an Airtel telecommunication company.
“All what we desire in Igbo Owu is peace, since 2016, the convicts have been causing series of upheaval and that has deprived the community of certain development. This is why we apply that court should issue a strict warning that they should go about their cleanings peacefully,” he said.
On his part, counsel to the convicts, Babatunde Olomu, described the judgement as a relief, saying his clients would have served jail term if not for the options of fine attached to the sentences.
Olomu who appreciated the court for ceding to his interlocutory plea, added that the Igbo Owu is long polarised following the brewing communal crisis.
“Peace is desirable in every community, Igbo Owu was long polarised because of animosity, one faction is for the sitting monarch, the other, belongs to the convicts. When Engineer Bangbola realised that the N5million MTN communication network paid to the community could not be accounted for, he registered a parallel association on behalf of Igbo Owu, in their own name.
“When another money came through Airtel telecommunication, the convicts insisted that the community will not have access to it unless they explain how the first tranche of the fund was spent.
“The judge did not discharge the convicts for stealing or misappropriation of fund, but sentenced them for forgery having found out that they were not the treasurer, secretary nor the chairman of the community.
Olomu however charged government to always look for ways of mediating between warring parties rather than taking side saying such action can fuel crisis.

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