An Asaba High Court, presided over by the Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshal Umukoro, has sentenced three men for abducting the wife of House of Assembly Speaker, Mrs. Oborevwori Tobore, to 21 years imprisonment with hard labour.
The convicts – Innocent Kpalajo, 35; Ejiro Omorere, 36 and Festus Okoro, 28 – were arraigned in May 2011 on a four-count charge of conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping, demanding with menace and armed robbery.
The offences are punishable under sections 516 (a), 364, 406 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap. C, 21 Vol. 1, Laws of Delta State of Nigeria 2006 and Section 1 (2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap. R 11.
The three accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mrs. Tobore identified one of her captors as her husband’s driver. The Speaker’s wife told the court that on May 8, 2011, at 1 p.m while driving on Osubi Road after visiting a widow, she noticed a gold-coloured Toyota Camry car tailing her and suddenly overtaking her car.
She said two men carrying arms came out of the car, took her to the back seat of their car, blindfolded her and drove her to an unknown place.
Mrs Tobore said she was chained in the hands and legs and locked in a toilet with another woman victim.
The Speaker’s wife said her captors dispossessed her of her Toyota Camry car, with registration number DT 688, a BlackBerry handset and other personal effects.
She said her abductors demanded a N50 million ransom. The Department of State Security (DSS) traced the calls of a member of the gang to a hotel at Afiesere where he was arrested.
It led to the rescue of the victim on May 13, 2011, at Okpare-Olomu.
Justice Marshal Umukoro said he was convinced that the prosecution established the ingredients of conspiracy, kidnapping, demanding by menace and robbery and found the three accused persons guilty of the charges.
The convicts broke down and pleaded for mercy.
The judge described the Speaker’s driver as a traitor of the worst kind.
The court ordered the re-arrest of Rotimi Oyewole, who allegedly bought the stolen vehicle, to face trial, and Oghenemano Isiah, for jumping bail.