A magistrate court sitting in Ilorin, on Wednesday, has asked warring parties in Igbo Owu, a community in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara state, to shun age-long intra communal crisis and embrace peace and development in the ancient town.
The advice came on the heels of the sentence handed down by Magistrate Muhammed Ibrahim against a chief in the community, Engineer Saka Bangbola and one Lasisi Subaru.
The two of them had earlier been convicted by the court on the offences of criminal conspiracy and forgery but the sentence was reserved till Wednesday on the case.
The magistrate in his ruling sentenced the convicts to six months imprisonment for the offence of criminal conspiracy with an option of fine of N5,000.
The convicts also bagged five years jail term for the offence of forgery with N15,000 option of fine.
Speaking with journalists after the court session, the prosecutor, Daibu Agboola Abdulkadri, expressed satisfaction over the ruling saying he’s more particular about peace of the community.
He said that for over four years, the community has experienced a developmental set back following a series of court cases that came up as a result of the convicts’ flagrant violation to the rule of law.
According to him, Engineer Bangbola started threatening the peace of the community when he contested for the stool of the traditional head (Oba) and lost saying he had since then, nursed grievances against the sitting the monarch.
He added that Bangbola used the community name to register an association which he fraudulently used to collect N2million from an Airtel telecommunication company.
“All that we desire in Igbo Owu is peace, since 2016, the convicts have been causing series of upheaval and that has deprived the community of certain developments. This is why we apply that court should issue a strict warning that the convicts should go about their dealings peacefully,” he said.
On his part, counsel to the convicts, Babatunde Olomu, described the judgement as a relief saying his clients would have served jail term if not for the options of fine attached to the sentences.
Olomu who appreciated the court for ceding to his interlocutory plea added that the Igbo Owu is long polarised following the brewing communal crisis.
“Peace is desirable in every community, Igbo Owu was long polarised because of animosity, one version is for the sitting monarch, the other belongs to the convicts. When Engineer Bangbola realised that the N5million MTN communication network paid the community could not be accounted for, he registered a parallel association on behalf of Igbo Owu, in their own name.
“When another money came through Airtel telecommunication, the convicts insisted that the community will not have access to it unless they explain how the first tranche of the fund was spent.
“The judge did not discharge the convicts for stealing or misappropriation of fund, but sentenced them for forgery having found out that they were not the treasurer, secretary nor the chairman of the community.
Olomu, however, charged the government to always look for ways of mediating between warring parties rather taking side saying such action can fuel crisis.
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