An Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti has sentenced a man, Raji Babatunde, to death by hanging for stealing seven bottles of beer and one packet of Rothmans cigarette.
Justice Cornelius Akintayo, in a judgment delivered on Wednesday, found Babatunde guilty of armed robbery for being in possession of axe and cutlass at the scene of the robbery.
The judge held that the prosecution had proved the case against Babatunde beyond a reasonable doubt.
He, however, discharged and acquitted the second accused person, Adegboye Sunday, for lack of sufficient evidence against him.
According to the charge sheet, Babatunde was a member of a four-man robbery gang that terrorised a house at 15, Odundun Street, Okesa and 5C, Dallimore Street both in Ado-Ekiti on June 30, 2014.
The offence contravened Section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap R11 Vol 14 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.
They robbed one Alhaji Mudsahiru Bello of two Nokia phones and one Techno phone and also robbed one Oladele Femi of one bottle of Star lager beer, six bottles of trophy lager beer and one packet of Rothmans cigarette.
In the course of the robbery, some policemen on patrol arrived the scene. Three members of the gang escaped, but Babatunde was arrested while trying to escape with the proceeds of the crime.
Babatunde in his statement to the police mentioned the name of Sunday, which led to his arrest.
They first appeared before the High Court on February 1, 2016, when the charges were read to them. They, however, pleaded not guilty.
None of the witnesses called to give evidence in the case linked the second accused person to the commission of the crime, leaving the court with no option than to set him free.
The prosecution called four witnesses while tendering the exhibits, including the voluntary confessional statement, four machetes, one knife, one bottle of Trophy beer, broken bottle of Star beer, one radio set and one fez cap.
The only witness called by Babatunde was his mother who testified that she and her son were coming from a church vigil, saying she was surprised to hear that he was arrested for robbery.