The traditional ruler of Igburowo community in the Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Pius Adewola, may spend the Yuletide in jail as he has been sentenced to two years imprisonment by an Ore Chief Magistrate Court on Friday.
The monarch was convicted over allegations of fraud and obtaining by false pretence.
The residents of the community had in 2012 staged a protest against the monarch over allegations of misrule and bringing the community into disrepute.
Oba Adewola was also accused of short-changing traditional chiefs in the community by refusing to pay them their entitlement in full after he had allegedly collected money from the local government.
He was also accused of engaging in a brawl with his chiefs, illegally converting the community’s resources to personal use and allegedly writing fictitious petitions and instituting several court cases against his subjects.
In 2014, the monarch was arrested and detained by the police and subsequently arraigned on 36 counts of stealing, fraud, illegal conversion of the monthly salaries of his domestic workers and chiefs, false declaration and impersonation.
After the argument from the counsels of both plaintiff and defendants, the Magistrate, Mr. O.J Adelegan sentenced Adewola to two years’ imprisonment with an option of N500,000 fine.
Adelegan said in his ruling, “From the antecedents so far garnered on the record, the convict appears to me, a conscienceless person, who has no iota of regret, indulging in such an opprobrious and despicable act.
“However, since it is no gainsaying that our law is no respecter of any personality, I strongly deprecate the ungainly and unbecoming acquisitive conduct of the convict, particularly, his fraudulent instinct to corruptly enrich himself at the expense of others. Though, I have listened attentively to the plea of allocutus by his counsel, but from the available record, I see him as a neophyte, a first offender.
“On counts 10-21 of the charge, which are on fraudulent conversion, the convict is hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment or to pay a fine of N500,000 on each of the counts”
“Lastly, on count 22 of the charge, which is on obtaining by false pretense, the convict is also hereby sentenced to two years’ imprisonment or to pay a fine of N500,000, respectively. In all, both fines and sentences are ordered to run concurrently. The monetary exhibit in this case, which is N408,000 is further hereby ordered to be returned to Igburowo community forthwith.”
In his reaction to the judgement, the counsel to the Ondo State Government, representing the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mrs. Bola Ogundadegbe, commended the magistrate for his judgment and the wealth of knowledge displayed during the course of the case.
Meanwhile, one week after an attack on the Olu of Igbokoda, Oba Afolabi Odidomo, by some suspected hoodlums, the traditional rulers in the state under the auspices of the Ondo State Council of Obas have condemned the act.
Oba Odidiomo was attacked by the hoodlum in Igbokoda, the headquarters of the Ilaje Local Government Area of the state last week. The hoodlums attacked the monarch with machetes and inflicted injuries on his head. He was left in the pool of his blood before the men of the state police command came to his rescue.
The Ondo traditional rulers in a statement made available to our correspondent, described the act as barbaric. The statement was signed by the Chairman, Council of Obas in the state, the Olukare of lkare, Oba Akadiri Momoh.
In the statement, the traditional rulers “frowned on the constant attack and kidnapping of traditional rulers in the state.”
Similarly, the state government also condemned the attack on the monarch by suspected hoodlums.
In a statement issued by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, “the government views the attack as an unwarranted assault and a desecration of the exalted stool of the Igbokoda traditional monarchy in particular and the time-tested tradition of our forebears.”
Olowolabi said the government would leave no stone unturned in its determination to ensure the protection of the lives and property of the citizens. He said it had also given directives to the security agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the people responsible for the attack on the monarch.
The statement said, “The government will also wish to make it known to all criminally-minded people that no part of the state is safe for them to operate any longer.”
“It should be noted that the governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has always shown respect for the monarchy and will continue to protect the exalted traditional stools.” (Punch)