A former factional Chairman of the Oyo State branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Mukaila Lamidi (aka Auxiliary), was yesterday sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for conspiracy.
He was jailed with four other by the High Court for his involvement in a crisis that claimed the lives of some people in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, in March 2014.
The others are Saheed Kareem, Abu Kareem, Kazeem Kayode and Taiwo Tijani.
The five persons had been on trial for the mayhem carried out at the Iwo Road interchange, Ibadan, on June 4, 2011, which led to the death of some citizens, including a final-year medical student, Adekunle Oladipupo.
The five accused persons were arrested and arraigned in 2014.
Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice Eni Esan said the accused persons were charged with a three-count of conspiracy, murder and attempted murder.
The judge held that the prosecution witness, Akeem Agbaje, told the court he was beside Adekunle Adedipupo on the day when the accused with others at large stormed the motor park in a Peugeot 604 belonging to Auxiliary and two other Micra cars, shooting sporadically.
According to the judge, the witness explained that it was during the shooting that bullets hit the deceased, who died immediately.
The witness added that he also sustained serious injuries.
Justice Esan said during cross-examination, the principal witness (PW 1) told the court that although the incident occurred around 9:45 pm, he was able to identify the accused persons with the help of headlights of the cars that lit up the crime scene.
But he said he was not convinced that the witness could identify the accused persons using the vehicle headlights.
On allegations of attempted murder, the judge held that since the argument of the PW 1 failed by identifying the accused through vehicle headlight, the charge cannot stand because it was late in the night.
“The court hereby discharges the accused persons on the murder charge,” he said.
Justice Esan further held that the accused persons in their evidence-in-chief and statement to the police, agreed that Auxiliary was their leader.
The judge added that they had been meeting in his Diamond Hotel at Alakia Isebo, Ibadan.
The court ruled that since the first accused person admitted he owned guns and the accused were caught in a car with rounds of bullet, they were guilty of conspiracy and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment each.
But Auxiliary’s counsel Mr. Olalekan Ojo said his clients would appeal the judgment. He argued that since the court acquitted and discharged them of murder and attempted murder, the conspiracy for which they were convicted did not exist.
Auxiliary and the late Lateef Salako (aka Eleweomo) were factional leaders of the union, who battled erstwhile chairman, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola (aka Tokyo) for leadership supremacy.
The three leaders engaged in violent attacks at motor parks severally, leaving Ibadan residents in perpetual fear.
Eleweomo was killed in 2010 during the build-up to the 2011 general election. His death opened the way for Auxiliary to lead their faction to sustain the supremacy battle with Tokyo.
But the violent attacks reached a crescendo with the June 4, 2011, mayhem, which left many people dead.
The sad event occurred five days after Governor Abiola Ajimobi took over leadership of the state under the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).