”HOW WE KILLED ALHAJA SIKIRAT EKUN” …Late Oba Oyekan’s son confesses, sentenced to death

''HOW WE KILLED ALHAJA SIKIRAT EKUN'' ...Late Oba Oyekan's son confesses, sentenced to death

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Wale Oyekan and domestic staff, sentenced to death for murder

Adewale, son of Adeyinka Oyekan, a former oba, who died on March 1, 2003, was sentenced alongside Lateef Balogun, a former domestic servant.

The prince hired Balogun for N6,000 to murder Ekun, according to the prosecution.

The convicts, who have been in custody for seven years, were said to have murdered Ekun by strangling her and throwing her corpse in a 1,000-feet well in her home.

In a two-hour judgment, Raliatu Adebiyi, the presiding judge, held that the prosecution proved the charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder beyond reasonable doubt.

She said: “The circumstantial evidence was strong and cogent; the act of the defendants in killing the deceased was intentional and premeditated.

“The court finds that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the offences of conspiracy and murder, and the defendants are accordingly found guilty of the two-count charge.

“Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, stipulates the punishment for the offence of murder as follows.

“Subject to the provisions of any other law, a person who commits the offence of murder shall be sentenced to death.

“Same is the punishment for conspiracy to commit murder as contained in Section 231 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

“The above cited provisions of the law does not give the court any discretion whatsoever in sentencing the defendants.

“For this reason, the first and second defendants are hereby sentenced on each of counts one and two, to death by hanging. May God, the giver of life, have mercy on your souls.”

According to the prosecution led by Akin George, the convicts committed the offences at 1am on October 17, 2012, at the home of the deceased located at 5, Babatunde Lalega street, Omole Phase One, Lagos.

The prosecution said that the deceased knew Oyekan due to her friendship with his late mother.

“To render assistance to the prince, Mrs Ekun employed him as the manager of her restaurant,” George said.

“Balogun, the second defendant, was a former domestic staff of Ekun, who was employed by her to take care of her elderly father.”

He submitted that Balogun’s employment was, however, terminated following a dispute with Ekun.

“The convicts conspired, killed the deceased and threw her corpse in a well within the premises of her home, and took over her businesses and property including a bus which was sold for N170,000,” he said.

“When any inquiry was made by family and friends about her whereabouts, Mr Oyekan informed them that she travelled to Abuja for the Ileya (Eid-el Kabir) festival. He passed this information by sending a text message from Mrs Ekun’s mobile phone.

“Following worry from members of Mrs Ekun’s family, and after an extensive search, her corpse was found two months later, in December 2012, by well diggers and firefighters.

“The convicts had placed a generator, a gas cylinder and other household items on the corpse to conceal it in the 1,000 feet well.”

The trial at the high court began on April 14, 2015.

Five witnesses, including two police officers, a nephew of the deceased, Iyiola Olaniyi; and the only child of the deceased, Folashade Amurun, testified for the prosecution.

Oyekan and Balogun testified for the defence.

While testifying, the convicts both denied knowing each other, saying that they met for the first time at a police station. They also denied committing the offences.

Oyekan said that he met Ekun, who was a friend of his mother at a PDP rally in 2011, after he returned from the US where he obtained a degree in architecture.

He said he met the deceased thereafter at her home where she offered to assist him by employing him to manage her restaurant.

Earlier, before the sentence was passed, defence counsel, O. C. Onwumerie, did not plead for mercy on behalf of his clients.

“I will be leaving sentencing to the hands of the court,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 50-year-old Prince, who committed the offence at age 45, had earlier stated in his police statement that he connived with Balogun, who had initially planned the murder, in order to take over her businesses and sell off her properties.

According to Oyekan statement, “I met Alhaja (the deceased) at a PDP rally at Ikeja after returning from the United States of America in 2003 following the death of my father. I was born in December 12, 1968 and my father is the late Oba of Lagos, Oba-Adeyinka Oyekan of Lagos. My mother is one Subulade Oyekan but she died in 2001 in USA.

“Alhaja invited me to her house at Omole and after we talked, she accepted to help me by employing me to work in her restaurant. She wasn’t really paying me any money as salary since I ate and was sheltered in her house.

“Balogun had also lived and worked for Alhaja but left after they both had a misunderstanding. It was during one of their confrontations that Balogun threatened to deal with Alhaja.

“I and Balogun began planning on how to kill her and seize her properties. I have been having dialogue with Balogun on how to kill Alhaja before October 17 but we eventually executed the plan on that day before Ileya: that is Edil-kabir celebration.

“On that day, I sneaked in Balogun into the building and hide him inside the toilet so that we can kill her around 1am. Alhaja’s Dad was the only person at home but he wasn’t feeling too well. So I turned on the generator in order to increase the noise and signalled Balogun to go kill Alhaja in her room.

“Balogun strangled her and both of us carried her dead body and dumped it inside a well in the compound so that no one would find her. We also used the kitchen utensils and some heavy loads to suppress the body inside a 1,000 feet well in order to prevent it from floating,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, an Estate manager, Isibor Paul, who testified in evidence before Justice Raliat Adebiyi, said that he met Oyekan at the late Ekun’s house where he was working as an employee in her restaurant.

Paul told the court that he was also an employee of Ekun, just like Oyekan, but in the full capacity of a manager where he executed contracts awarded to his boss by the PDP party, at the time.

He said that he had travelled to PortHarcourt in Rivers State for a wedding on the day his boss was murdered but was later briefed on the outcome of the police investigations in unraveling the killer of his boss.

The witness testified that he returned to Lagos only to be informed by the prince that his boss had travelled as a result of an unknown sickness.

“I was shocked when I heard that Madame had travelled without informing me, at least she wasn’t sick before I travelled. But what was more strange was the fact that I couldn’t find any of her cars or kitchen utensils when I arrived her apartment.

“I had thought that she was angry with me for not staying back in Lagos to celebrate the Muslim festival with her as it was her habit of killing a ram and celebrating with her staff members.

He said, “On October 26 Prince Oyekan called my number and asked why I didn’t come to see Alhaja and that she was sick.

“I went to her compound, on getting there I didn’t see her Sienna and Rav 4, when I asked about the vehicles, Prince said Alhaja asked some people to come and pick them.

“All the while when I was asking questions, someone was texting me with Alhaja’s number.

He added that for the 14 years he had worked with the deceased, she never sent him any SMS messages.

The witness informed the court further that when he received the 17th text, also not having seen or heard from his boss, he asked the suspect about her cooking utensils which were missing from her house.

He said he could not understand his explanations hence he traced the deceased family house in Fadeyi to find out about her.

He said the family queried him about his boss’ whereabouts and subsequently reported to the police leading to the arrest and investigation of Oyekan and other suspected persons; himself, Michael Scott, Funke another staff of the deceased whom the witness claimed police found Alhaja’s catering utensils with and two men who said they bought the vehicles from Prince Oyekan.

According to him, he said it was at this point that at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti that the defendants were separated from other suspects.

During cross-examination, the defendant’s counsel, Mr. O. C Onwumere argued that the witness could have been lying to the court stressing that he had not told the police during investigation that one Engineer Tunde had also come to the home of the deceased for the Sallah celebration.

He also argued that the witness could not have known the findings of the police from his detention but was relating to the court what could be described as hearsay or fables.

The witness replied, “When Engineer Tunde called me to know whether we had seen her, I told him, no and that I have not heard anything from Alhaja, I did not tell police about Engineer Tunde’s visit to the house.”