Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Nigerian Prince sentenced to death for killing former boss

A Nigerian prince has been sentenced to death by hanging for strangling a politician to death so he could steal her business.

Prince Adewale Oyekan, 50, son of the late Adeyinka Oyekan II, the 23rd Oba of Lagos, murdered businesswoman and politician Alhaja Sikirat Ekun in 2012.

The prince, who managed Ms Ekun's restaurant in the Nigerian capital, recruited her former servant Lateef Balogun, 27, paying him £12.59 to conspire with him.

The pair strangled the 62-year-old before dumping her body down a 1,000ft well at her home and covered it with a generator and gas cylinder, local media reported.

After her murder they took over her businesses and property, including a bus which was flogged for £360.

Balogun had been employed by Ms Ekun to care for her elderly father but had been sacked following a dispute.

The prince had returned to Nigeria in 2003 following the death of his father, who reigned from 1965 until his death as the ceremonial sovereign of Lagos.

The Oba, a pacifist and peacemaker throughout his reign, was a qualified pharmacist and had served in the Third Field Ambulance 81st West Africa Division in Burma during WWII.

The prince had been studying architecture in the States when his father died. His mother had been living in the US until her death in 2001.

The court heard that Ms Ekun had helped the prince on his return, offering him a job at the restaurant and allowing him to stay at her home.

On October 17, 2012, the prince and his accomplice Balogun strangled Ms Ekun at her home in the Ojodu neighbourhood, on the outskirts of Lagos.

When her family inquired as to her whereabouts the high court heard that the prince sent them a text message claiming Ms Ekun had travelled to Abuja for a religious festival.

Two months later an extensive search of her home by well diggers and firefighters uncovered her corpse.

Their trial began at the Ikeja High Court in April 2015. Both men denied knowing each other, claiming they had first met at the police station.

Prince Adewale told the court that he had met Ms Ekun at a People's Democratic Party rally after returning from his architecture studies in the United States.

Before sentence was passed on Monday, the murderers' defence counsel Mr O. C. Onwumerie declined to plead for clemency.

'I will be leaving sentencing to the hands of the court,' the lawyer said.

Justice Raliatu Adebiyi, during the two-hour hearing, 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 are accordingly found guilty of the two-count charge.'

She outlined that the sentence for murder was death, telling the court: '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.'

Daily Mail

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