By Joshua Oladipo
Osogbo, May 30 , 2023
An Osun High Court on Tuesday in Osogbo, sentenced the owner of Hilton Hotels, Rahman Adedoyin, to death by hanging over the murder of Timothy Adegoke, a postgraduate student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
Delivering her judgment, Justice Adepele Ojo also sentenced Kazeem Oyetunde and Adeniyi Aderogba to death by hanging for their involvement in the killing of Adegoke.
Mrs. Fatima Adebayo, the Prosecution counsel from Femi Falana Chambers, urged the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing the seventh defendant, Adedeji Adesola.
The court adjourned until May 31 for the sentencing of Adesola.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three other defendants – Magdalene Chiefuna, Oluwale Lawrence and Kunle Adebayo – were, however, discharged and acquitted.
The judge said that Adedoyin was found guilty on count 1,2, 3, 7, 9, 15 bothering on conspiracy to murder, unlawful killing of Timothy Adegoke and also disposing and tampering with his corpse .
Ojo also ordered that the Hilton Hotel, Ile-Ife, be closed and forfeited to the state government.
She further said that the children of the deceased should be placed on scholarship until their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the bills should be paid by the Estate of Rahman Adedoyin.
She added that the son of the hotel owner be placed on Police, Interpol watch until he is apprehended and brought to face his trial.
The judge said that there were three applications pending from the defense counsel, on which she needed to give her ruling as regards the legality of Mr. Femi Falana and Mrs. Aisha Adepoju to prosecute the case.
Ojo, in her ruling on the pending applications, explained that she did not see any interest of justice in granting the application and so hold that the prosecution counsel had powers to prosecute the case.
She said that the application challenging the fiat issued to the prosecution counsel was misconceived and lacking in merit and therefore dismissed accordingly.
NAN reports that the suspects, who were arraigned on a 16-count charge, which included conspiracy, murder, felony, all pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
NAN also reports that the case file number: HOS/5C/2022, dated Feb. 14, 2022 and filed on Feb. 17, 2022, was substituted with: HOS/5C/ 2022, dated Feb. 22 , 2022 and filed on March 2, 2022.
Earlier during the trial, the State Prosecution Counsel, Mr M. Omosun, had told the court that the defendants committed the offence sometimes between Nov. 5, 2021 and Nov. 7, 2021, within Ile-Ife area in Osun.
Omosun said that the defendants, with others at large, conspired among themselves to kill one Timothy Adegoke for unjust reasons.
“They also altered and cancelled the receipt number 9316 , which indicated that Timothy Adegoke lodged in Hilton Hotel, Ile Ife.
“The body of the deceased, his laptop , phones and his other belongings were dumped at an undisclosed place by the defendants to cover up their activities after he was allegedly murdered,” he said.
The prosecution counsel said that the offences committed contravened Sections 324, 306 , 315 , 509 , 516, 519, 242 , and 106 of the Criminal Code, cap 38 vol. 11 , Laws of Osun, 2004.
Omosun had also pleaded with the court to order the remand of the defendants in a Correctional Centre due to the magnitude of the alleged offences they committed.
The case file was later taken over by a Human Rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), who prosecuted the case.
Adegoke was a postgraduate student at the Obafemi Awolowo University ( OAU). He left Abuja on Nov. 5, 2021, to sit for his last examination in the university at Ile-Ife.
The deceased had lodged at Hilton Hotels belonging to Rahman Adedoyin, where he allegedly lost his life and was declared missing on Nov. 7, 2021, after his classmates discovered that he did not show up in class at Moro Distance Learning Centre of the University.
Also, the police investigation revealed that he had told his family of his plans to check into Hilton Hotels in Ile-Ife, where he usually stayed whenever he arrived Ife, but this was initially denied by the hotel management.
NAN reports that others allegedly connected to the murder still at large are: Raheem Adedoyin (Son), Esther Asigoh and Quadiri Moshood.