IBADAN – A 37-year-old man Adeyemi Morenikeji has been sentenced to death by Justice Adenike Adeeyo of the High Court of Justice Oyo.
The accused, Adeyemi Morenikeji was a former truck driver that belongs to the family of one Mrs. Racheal Ayanwale (deceased) but through his confessional statement at the Oyo State Police Command Headquarters Eleyele Ibadan when he was paraded as a suspect over the case said, on April 11, 2019, he lured the woman out of her office on the pretext of helping her to find a spiritual solution to her marital problem.
He said, on the way to the ‘spiritual house’, “I strangled Mrs. Ayanwale, left her body by the riverside and went away with her Pontiac Vibe vehicle with registration number KJA 67 CY.”
Morenikeji was arrested by the Oyo State Police Command on April 18 2019 in Sango-Ota, Ogun State and has been prosecuted accordingly.
Justice Adenike Adeeyo of High Court of Justice Awe Road Oyo on Friday, after thorough deliberations by both the state council and the defendant council, read the two-count charges before the accused who has no objection but pleaded for mercy.
The two-count charges no: HOY/1C/2020 Court No 2, as read by the Lordship Adeeyo stated thus:
“Count 1. That you, Aderemi Morenikeji on or about the 11th day of April 2019 at about 1400hrs between School of Survey and Awe road, Oyo in the Oyo Judicial Division murdered one Racheal Oyewumi Ayanwale (female) by strangulation and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 316 and punishable under section 319of the Criminal cap code, Cap 38, vol. 11, laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000.
“Count 2: That you, Aderemi Morenikeji on or about 11th day of April 2019 at Awe road, Oyo in the Oyo Judicial Division, having strangulated and murdered one Racheal Oyewumi Ayanwale (female) robbed her of her Vibe Pontiac Car with Registration No. Lagos KJA 67 CY valued at One Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira (N1,720,000) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 401 and punishable under section 402, of the criminal Code, Cap 38, vol. II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000.”
In her 62 pages judgment, Justice Adenike Adeeyo said, “this Honourable Court hereby sentence you Aderemi Morenike to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour for count 2, for robbing late Racheal Oyewunmi Ayanwale of her Pontiac Car and phones.”
Justice Adeeyo also in her ruling sentenced him to death for count 1 for murdering Ayanwale.
The accused, in his confessional statement, when he was paraded at the State Police Command, said he strangled the deceased to death to revenge the denial and refusal of her taking her back as truck driver.
He said, “I killed Mrs. Rachael Ayanwale. She was the wife of my boss who I worked for before they both sacked me. I drove their truck for them, plying Wharf in Lagos and Obajana in Kogi State, but I was sacked at a period when my wife was pregnant, and I couldn’t afford her going for ante-natal care, and when she eventually delivered, we lost the child. All this while, I had been begging them to forgive me, but they refused. Even after the death of the child, I still went back to them with someone to beg them again to re-employ me, but they refused.
“When commercial vehicles started developing fault frequently, owners should take it easy, as it is not the fault of the driver. My boss’s vehicle was always giving me problems whenever I travelled, and the owners felt I was just cheating on them. On several occasions, I would repair it without informing them, but if the problem was a serious one, I would inform them, and they would threaten to sack me.
“So when the vehicle developed fault again, I felt they were just threatening me again until they said they had sacked me. I kept pleading with them for over four years, sending several people to beg them on my behalf, but they maintained their stand,” he said.