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(2018) LPELR-44065(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 23rd day of March, 2018


Before Their Lordships

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


SUNDAY ADOBA - Appellant(s)


THE STATE - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This appeal borders on the offences of conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery.
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division, Coram: Hon. Justice Chidi Nwaona Uwa, JCA, Hon. Justice Obietonbara Daniel Kalio, JCA and Hon. Justice Haruna Simon Tsanmani, JCA. The Court's judgment was delivered on the 27th March, 2014 affirming the judgment of the trial Court, delivered on 15th day of December, 2010.

???On the 1st day of May, 2008, the two accused persons - one Michael Oloye as 1st accused and the appellant, at Idedo village along Owode/Idiroko Road, near Iju town, riding in a Nissan Bluebird car and posing as policemen accosted PW1 who was travelling in her own Nissan vanette bus with her aides towards sango. The accused flashed police identity card and asked for the vehicle particulars of her bus, which the driver to PW1 produced. The accused asked if the PW2 carried any contraband in the bus but the PW2 answered in the negative, that they did not carry any contraband. The accused then started to search the bus and discovered the sum of N365,000.00. - PW1's money in a polythene bag where it was kept and took the money. The 2nd accused (appellant) pulled out a pistol and ordered the PW1 and her team to enter the bus. The accused dropped the money in their Nissan Bluebird car and drove off, initially towards Sango but later made a U-turn towards Atan. PW2 who was the driver to PW1 chased the accused but later lost sight of them. With the help of some Police Officers at a check point and some commercial motor cycle riders at Atan junction, they discovered that the accused had driven towards Agbara direction, hence they too followed the same direction. The accused later abandoned their car and fled. With the help of the villagers, the accused were later arrested while trying to escape through the river. The 3rd suspect however escaped with the money. The two accused were taken to Agbara Police Station where PW1 and PW2 made statements.

???PW3, then Inspector Gideon Ogunlabi was the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), formally serving at the Anti-Robbery Section, State CID, Abeokuta. On 5th of May, 2008, a case of armed robbery was referred to him for investigation from Agbara Division. He obtained the statements of the witnesses and the accused persons, who volunteered their statements. He observed that the statements of the two accused were confessional in nature, hence he took each of them before a superior police officer, ASP Sola King. The two accused confirmed that the statements were their voluntary statements and then signed same before the ASP. PW3 also signed and the ASP endorsed same. The said statements were tendered in evidence and were admitted without any objection and marked Exhibits A and B for the 1st and 2nd accused respectively. The Investigating police officer at the Divisional level- one sergeant Njoku, was reported to be on a foreign mission but his own statement had been obtained and was tendered and admitted in evidence as Exhibit C. PW3 also tendered the statements made by the accused at Agbara police Division. The defence objected to the admissibility of the statements, which objection was overruled, and same were admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibits A2 and B2 respectively. PW3 led a team of policemen to Akinwumi village where the accused were apprehended but they did not find the loot in the river where the accused claimed they had dropped the money. All efforts to arrest the 3rd member of the gang proved abortive.

The appellant as the 2nd accused person and one the other accused person were charged with the offences of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery, contrary to Section 1(2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap. R11, Laws of the Federation, 2004. Upon arraignment, the two accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge and the case proceeded to trial. The prosecution called three witnesses while each of the two accused testified but called no other witness. However, the trial Court found that even though each of the two accused denied robbing the PW1, their evidence in almost every material particular confirms the case of the prosecution. Upon review of the total evidence adduced, the trial Court found that the prosecution proved the two counts of conspiracy and robbery against the two accused persons beyond reasonable doubt. They were found guilty, convicted and respectively sentenced to 14 and 21 years imprisonment on each of the two counts.

???Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial Court, the 2nd accused/appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal. In its unanimous decision handed down on 27th March, 2014, the Court of Appeal found that the appeal was unmeritorious and same was accordingly dismissed. The judgment of the trial Court was affirmed. Further dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

Th appellant formulated the following issues for the determination of the appeal:
"(a) Whether the contradictions in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses were not material. (Grounds 1 and 2).
(b) Whether the prosecution had been able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt as required by law (Grounds 3 and 4)."

On the whole, the appeal was unanimously dismissed for lacking in merit.

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