Seven men involved in the kidnap of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, have been sentenced to life imprisonment by an Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, the state capital on Monday.
The seven men – Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed, Idris Lawal, Abdulkadir Umar and Babawo Kato – who were all Fulani herdsmen were found guilty of kidnapping the elder statesman in his farm in Ilado Village, Akure North Local Government Area of the state in September, 2015.
They were initially arraigned on five counts of kidnapping, abduction, aiding and abetting, kidnapping, conspiracy and armed robbery.
The offences were said to be contrary to Section 2 of the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Abduction Law, 5(1) (a) of the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Abduction Laws, Section 3(11)(b) of the Anti-Kidnapping and Abduction Law, Section 6(b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act, Cap R11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and Section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap R11, Vol. 14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
It would be recalled that the former Minister for Finance spent three days in the den of the kidnappers while a sum of N5milllion was reportedly paid as ransom to the hoodlums.
It took the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari who ordered the former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase to rescue the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party.
In his judgment, the trial judge, Justice Williams Olamide held that the seven accused persons were guilty of the kidnapping charge brought against them by the Ondo State Government.
He said the recovered ransom, call logs, and identification of the suspects by Chief Falae himself, indicted the convicts of complicity in the crime and subsequently sentenced them to Olokuta prison, Akure for life, without an option of a fine.
He however discharged them of two of the counts, conspiracy and armed robbery.