9th August, 2022
By Itohan Abara-Laserian
An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday sentenced one Pastor Erinmole Adetokunbo and one Adedoyin Oyekanmi to death for killing a seven-year-old boy for ritual purposes.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo sentenced the duo who changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty on Monday.
The convicts were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and murder.
According to the Lagos State government, the convicts committed the offences on June 7, 2017, at No. 6, Oke Oniburokun St., Odokekere, Ikorodu, Lagos.
The government said that the duo cut off the child’s head and buried it on a ‘church’ altar and threw the body into a canal.
The judge held that the case was pathetic, saying that the duo conspired and murdered the child.
“The defendants have committed a heinous crime and deserve no mercy.
“They have cruelly and intentionally killed a seven-year-old boy. This deprived him and his family of a bright destiny.
“Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State imposes the death penalty for premeditated murder, and I have no hesitation in imposing the said punishment.
“I hereby sentence Adedoyin Oyekanmi and Erinwole Adetokunbo to death for killing Kazeem Rafiu. May God have mercy on your souls,” she pronounced.
The convicts were arraigned on Oct. 30, 2017, on a two-count charge.
They had pleaded not guilty.
On Monday, prosecution counsel, Mrs O. A. Bajulaiye, told the court that the defendants were ready to change their pleas.
Defence counsel, Ms Anthonia Otsokwa, did not object to that.
Consequently, the convicts pleaded guilty to the charge.
The court, thereafter, reviewed the facts of the case, and the prosecution counsel urged the court to convict them accordingly.
However, Otsokwa prayed to the court to temper justice with mercy, saying that her clients had realised their mistakes and were remorseful.
“We plead with the court to consider a sentence with terms of imprisonment,” she had prayed, but on Tuesday, the judge imposed the maximum sentence for murder – death by handing – saying that the duo committed heinous crimes.
The trial started on the case in 2021, with the prosecution calling several witnesses. The convicts pleaded guilty midway.