JUST IN; Military personnel to die by lethal injection/hanging for armed robbery

A Private in the Nigerian Army, Dompa Hyellablani, has been sentenced to death by lethal injection or hanging for seizing a car from a woman at gunpoint.

Hyellablani, who was serving at 351 Artillery in Monguno, Borno State but secured a pass to come to Adamawa State, was convicted by a court in Yola for snatching the said car, a Toyota Camry belonging to Rita Harrison, a civil servant.

He was convicted on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and armed robbery.

Hon Justice Kanyson Lawanson of Yola High Court pronounced the death sentence on Hyellablani but acquitted Emmanuel Adeka’a, a 19-year-old applicant who was arraigned alongside the soldier on the same charges.

The prosecution established that Hyellablani and Emmanuel had on September 9, 2019, while in front of a restaurant in Jimeta named VIS, robbed Rita Harrison of her car.

The prosecution explained that Hyellablani who is an indigene of Hong in northern Adamawa, and while armed with offensive weapons, dispossessed the woman of her Toyota Camry LE with registration number BL 85 LSD Lagos.

Court papers indicate that the convict was enrolled into the Nigerian Army in 2013, after when he served in Plateau State before going on transfer to Borno, with posting to Monguno where he served until 2019.

Hyellablani said in his statement in evidence that while in Monguno in 2019, the military authorities decided to collect all arms from them but that he refused to hand over his own, and that a few days later, he secured a pass and left Borno to Adamawa where he lodged at Jino Hotel in Jimeta on 8th September 2019, where he met the second defendant, Emmanuel Adeka’a, and they became friends.

He added that on September 9, 2019, he asked Emmanuel to escort him to Legend Club, and while by the roadside in front of VIS and opposite Legend Club, he saw Rita Harrison in her car.

The court further established that Hyellablani, fully dressed in his military uniform and armed with his rifle, approached Rita Harrison in her car in front of the VIS Restaurant and requested money to buy food, following which the woman gave him N500.

He confessed that he thereafter ordered her to hand over her car key and, to scare her and passersby, he fired four gunshots in the air, and the woman ran off for safety.

He thereafter ordered Emmanuel to drive him away from the scene and to his hotel, at a time put at 11.30 pm.

They were however intercepted by local vigilantes while on their way to the hotel and taken to the Police, which eventually got them arraigned at the Yola High Court.

Delivering the death sentence on Hyellablani, Justice Kanyson, declared that the prosecution had proven its case against the defendant as charged, and sentenced him to death by hanging or by lethal injection.

The judge said the convict abused a rare privilege to serve in the Nigerian Army which entrusted him with a weapon to protect the nation only for him to use the weapon against the citizenry.

The judge held however that for the second defendant, Emmanuel Ade’eka, there was no credible evidence to prove that he acted in concert with the convict, as there was no agreement between them for the crime.

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