Osun Ex-LG Chairman and Five Others Sentenced to Prison for Arson

Former local government chairman, Tajudeen Babatunde, has been sentenced to four years in prison for conspiracy, malicious damage, and arson.

Babatunde, who previously served as the caretaker chairman of Iwo West Local Council Development Authority, was sentenced by a Chief Magistrate Court in Iwo on Thursday.

He was sentenced alongside three Beninese nationals—Sunday Ajoko, Jonas John, and Kohonu Deboye—as well as Adeoye Alabi and Kasumu Ajao.

The defendants were arraigned under trial suit number MIW/68c/2019 on charges including conspiracy, malicious damage, and arson.

According to the charge sheet, the defendants, along with others who are yet to be apprehended, were accused of cutting down approximately 400 palm trees and other valuable economic trees worth about N10 million at Ayigbiri Orupekere farm on or before February 16, 2019, along the Iwo/Ibadan road in Iwo, Osun State.

The Oosa Olaniyi family of Iwo, represented by their counsel, Dele Abbas, had requested the Osun State Ministry of Justice to take over the prosecution from the police, a request that was approved by the government.

After concluding the hearings, Magistrate Famuyide convicted all defendants on Wednesday but postponed the sentencing until Thursday.

During Thursday’s proceedings, attended by the defendants, their counsel Laide Yekini, prosecuting counsel Mikaheel Idris from the Ministry of Justice, and the complainant’s counsel Abbas, Magistrate Famuyide ruled that the prosecution had convincingly proven all allegations against the defendants.

All defendants were found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison. The court did not award compensation to the complainant but suggested that the family could seek compensation in another court.

However, the court allowed Ajao an option of an N80,000 fine due to his age and ill health.

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