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Court sentences Lagos prince, one other to death for murder

The convicts leaving the court yesterday.<br />

A 50-year-old Lagos prince, Adewale Oyekan, and a former domestic servant, Lateef Balogun (27), were on Monday sentenced to death by an Ikeja High Court for the murder of Sikirat Ekun, a 62-year-old businesswoman and politician.

Adewale is the son of Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, Oba of Lagos, who died on March 1, 2003. The prince hired Balogun for N6,000 to murder Mrs. Ekun, according to the prosecution. The convicts, who have been in custody for seven years, murdered Ekun by strangling her and throwing her body into a 1,000-feet well in her home.

Justice Raliatu Adebiyi in a two-hour judgment held that the prosecution proved the charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder beyond a reasonable doubt. She said: “The circumstantial evidence was strong and cogent; the act of the defendants in killing the deceased was intentional and premeditated.

“The court finds that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the offences of conspiracy and murder, and the defendants are accordingly found guilty of the two-count charge. Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, stipulates the punishment for the offence of murder. For this reason, the first and second defendants are hereby sentenced on each of counts one and two, to death by hanging. May God, the giver of life, have mercy on your souls.”

According to the prosecution led by Akin George, the convicts committed the offences at 1:00a.m. on October 17, 2012, at the home of the deceased located at No. 5, Babatunde Lalega St., Omole Phase One, Lagos State.

The prosecution said that the deceased was a restauranteur who knew Prince Oyekan due to her friendship with his late mother. “To render assistance to the prince, Ekun employed him as the manager of her restaurant. Balogun, the second defendant, was a former domestic staff of Ekun, who was employed by her to take care of her elderly father,” George said.

He submitted that Balogun’s employment was, however, terminated following a dispute with Ekun. “The convicts conspired, killed the deceased and threw her body in a well within the premises of her home, and took over her businesses and property including a bus which was sold for N170,000.

“When an inquiry was made by family and friends about her whereabouts, Oyekan informed them that she travelled to Abuja for the Ileya (Eid-el Kabir) festival. He passed this information by sending a text message from Ekun’s mobile phone.

“The following worry from members of Ekun’s family, and after an extensive search, her body was found two months later, in December 2012, by well diggers and firefighters. The convicts had placed a generator, a gas cylinder, and other household items on the body to conceal it in the 1,000 feet well,” he said.

The trial at the High Court began on April 14, 2015.

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