In a recent development, the Lagos State High Court, situated in the Ikeja region, has handed down convictions to two individuals belonging to a group of pipeline vandals. Their crimes pertained to the 2015 heinous act of murdering seven officers from the Department of State Security (DSS) within the Ishawo area of Ikorodu.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi, in his official judgment, asserted that the prosecution, led by the Lagos State Government, successfully demonstrated the culpability of the first defendant, Clement Ododomu, on counts of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, and the possession of firearms with intent to commit a felony. The second defendant, Tiwei Monday, was also found guilty, albeit for conspiracy to commit murder and the failure to report a felony.
These offenses were found to be in direct violation of Sections 223 and 298 (3) of the Criminal Law, Cap. C. A Vol. 3, laws of Lagos State 2015.
The court has set the date for the sentencing of the convicts on November 14th.
The prosecution had laid out the events of September 2015 when the DSS received a distress call concerning an alleged kidnapping incident. Subsequently, a nine-member rescue team was dispatched. During the trial, Saheed Adetunji, an investigating officer with the DSS, revealed that seven of the nine-member rescue team were ambushed by the vandals in the Ishawo area and taken captive. The remaining two team members managed to escape.
Adetunji disclosed, “The first defendant said that they took the seven DSS personnel to their hideout, into the Ishawo Creeks, called Barracks.”
Moreover, he identified the second defendant, Monday, who admitted to being part of the vandals’ group that used teargas and pepper spray on the DSS personnel.
“When they got to their Barracks, the first defendant said he personally shot two of the DSS personnel with a pump-action rifle, while one Agbala shot the remaining five with an AK-47. The deceased’s bodies were buried in three separate graves. The first defendant said that the graves were dug by some Ijaw boys, and three slim operatives were packed in one, while the larger ones were put in twos into the other graves,” he stated.
Despite the defendants initially pleading not guilty and denying their involvement during the trial, Justice Oshodi, in his judgment, declared that the prosecution had successfully proven some of the charges against the two convicts beyond any reasonable doubt.
The judge further dismissed the defendants’ alibi, deeming it a deceptive tactic and an afterthought, as no substantial evidence supported their claims of being at different locations when the crime took place. He also noted that the evidence presented in court verified that their statements had been made voluntarily.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) urged the court to impose the maximum penalty on the defendants, sending a powerful message that the state will not tolerate the killing of anyone, particularly officers on lawful duty. Additionally, the DPP called on the DSS to track down one Agbala, who was reported to have shot five of their officers.