Dompa Hyellablani, a military officer has been convicted and sentenced to death by Lethal Injection or by hanging for armed robbery in Adamawa State capital Yola.
Dompa, with force number 13NA/70/6142, private and served at 351 Artillery in one of Borno State Monguno, was convicted on 2 counts of charge bordering armed robbery and criminal conspiracy.
Hon. Justice Lawanson Kanyson, of Yola High Court, slammed the death sentence on the military officer on Thursday, after he was tried and found guilty.
Likewise, the judge has discharged and acquitted a 19-year applicant, Adeka’a Emmanuel, who has arraigned alongside the military officer before the court and joined as 1st and 2nd defendants on the same count charge.
According to the prosecution, Emmanuel and Dompa and had on 9th September 2019 while in front of VIP restaurant opposite Legend club in Jimeta, Yola North Local Government Area, robbed Rita Harrison, a Staff of State Post Primary Schools Management Board of her vehicle.
Hyellablani, an indigene of Hong LGA, Adamawa state while armed with an offensive weapon, forcefully dispossessed the woman of her car ( Toyota Camry LE) with registration number: BL 85 LSD Lagos.
It was gathered that the convict was enrolled into the Nigeria Army in 2013, before he was posted to Monguno he served in Plateau State before he was transferred to Borno state where he served until 2019.
In his own words he tendered and admitted evidence, Hyrllablani, told the court that while in Monguno in 2019, the military decided to collect all arms from them, but that he refused to hand over his own due to Boko Haram and held it to defend himself.
A few days later, he secured a pass and left Borno to Adamawa where lodged at Jino hotel located at bye pass in Jimeta/Yola on 8th September 2019, where he met Emmanuel Adeka’a, (2nd defendant) and became friends.
On the 9th of September 2019, the convict asked Emmanuel to escort him to Legend hotel, and that while at the hotel, he also asked him whether he knows how to drive a car and Emmanuel responded that he knows.
Hyellablani, who was fully dressed in his military uniform and armed with his rifle, saw Rita Harrison, in her car in front of the restaurant where he met her and requested for money to buy food, and that the woman gave him N500.
Thereafter, the officer ordered her to hand over her car key if at all she values her own life, and fired 4 gunshots on the spot and scared the woman and any other person around the area, and scampered for safety.
He also threatened to shoot his friend who was also trying to escape for his life and ordered him to come back and enter the car to drive them after he successfully dispossessed the woman of her red Toyota Camry. The convict pointed his gun at Emmanuel while forcing him to drive the car to their hotel around 11:30 pm.
They were intercepted by the team of gallant local vigilantes while on their way to the hotel where they took to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police headquarters Yola, for investigation.
Pronouncing the death sentence on the 29 years Dompa after he pleaded for mitigation of punishment, Justice Kanyson, declared that the prosecution had proved its case against the defendant as charged, and sentenced him to death by hanging or lethal injection.
Justice Kanyson said that the convict was accorded a rare privilege to serve in the Nigeria Army and entrusted with a weapon to defend/protect and safeguard the nation, but unfortunately decided to use it against innocent citizens.
On the 2nd defendant, the judge held that there was no credible evidence tendered before the court to prove that they acted in concert, saying that there was no conspiracy, agreement, or confederacy between Dompa and Emmanuel. However, he warned Emmanuel who narrowly escaped the death sentence to be cautious in life, saying if he fails to so do, one day he will meet his waterloo.
But while pleading with the court to temper justice with mercy, Dompa, who was indeed remorseful, promised that he would not commit any crime again and that he wants to go back to the army.
When asked what pushed him into robbery, he told the court that he served in Borno for good 2 years without salary, saying that he was living from hand to mouth and that the situation became unbearable for somebody fighting the dreaded insurgents. Reacting to the verdict, A. M.Ularamu(Senior State Counsel II) who appeared alongside D.I. Kulthu(SSC II) for the prosecution, and F. A.Ogbe, Chief Legal Officer, Nigeria Legal Aid Council, for the defendants, appreciated the court for the judgment.