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(2018) LPELR-45299(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 13th day of July, 2018


Before Their Lordships

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUMAI BAYANG AKA'AHS Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMINA ADAMU AUGIE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


ABUBAKAR P. DAJO - Appellant(s)


THE STATE - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This criminal appeal borders on the offence of culpable homicide punishable with death.
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, affirming the decision of Banu, J., of the High Court of Adamawa State, holden at Yola.
Appellant was present at a polling unit situated at Yandang Karaje in Mayo Belwa Local Government of Adamawa State during the conduct of election into Adamawa State House of Assembly. Soldiers arrived and started beating voters who had lined up to cast their votes. One of those beaten was appellant's wife, who was carrying a baby of about four months. According to the Appellant, his wife was kicked with legs and she fell down with the baby, who sustained injury. This maltreatment of his wife infuriated him and, he went to his house, which was about 100 meters away, collected his bow and arrows and returned to the polling unit. When the soldiers saw him with his bow and arrows, they took to their heels, and as they ran away, they shot their guns into the air. It was at this point he shot his arrow at them. According to the Appellant, the youths who had gathered at the poling unit started shouting and threw stones at the soldiers.
After shooting the arrow at the soldiers, Appellant ran away from the village to Baruwa in Gashaka Local Government, where he was subsequently arrested, charged with conspiracy to beat, stone and shoot security agents with poisoned arrows, which beating, stoning and shooting resulted in the death of one Dahi Doma, a soldier under, contrary to Section 96 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 97(1) of the same code. The Appellant was separately charged with culpable homicide punishable under Section 221 of the Penal Code.
At the close of the prosecution's case, a no case submission was made and upheld, on behalf of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th accused persons. The Appellant, who was the first accused at the trial Court, testified in his defence and closed his case. In its judgment, the trial Court found the Appellant guilty of culpable homicide punishable with death under Section 221 of the Penal Code and sentenced him to death by hanging. Dissatisfied, appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal, albeit, unsuccessfully. Hence, the further appeal to the Supreme Court.

The issues for determination, as distilled by the appellant are:
"(1) Whether the Court of Appeal was right in affirming the conviction and sentence of the Appellant to death for the offence of culpable homicide pursuant to Section 221(b) of the Penal Code Law, despite the apparent failure of the prosecution to establish all the ingredients of the offence of culpable homicide beyond reasonable doubt.
(2) Whether the Court of Appeal was right in law when it held that the defence of provocation does not avail the Appellant against the charge of culpable homicide notwithstanding that the Appellant led positive and credible evidence to prove the defence of provocation."

In conclusion, the appeal was dismissed. Nevertheless, the apex Court recommended that the sentence of death, passed on the appellant, be commuted to ten years imprisonment.

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