-Lawyers, activists applaud death sentence
Legal practitioners and anti domestic violence campaigners have been speaking on the death sentence passed on Akolade Arowolo, who was found guilty of killing his banker wife, Titilayo Omozoje, on Friday, February 21, 2013, by a Lagos High Court.
After 32 months of trial for murder of his wife, the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, Lagos, presided over by Justice Lateefat Okunnu finally sealed the fate of Arowolo as he was found guilty of one-count charge of murder and sentenced to death by hanging.
Some of the lawyers we spoke to applauded the judgment. Constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Barrister Fred Agbaje believes the judgment was not too harsh since there were glaring evidence to back up the claim. “The judgment is in order, it is not too harsh since it followed the letter of the law. A man who kills with glaring evidence should face the consequences. There are overwhelming evidences that support the fact that he actually did it, the law had followed its course. However, the Court of Appeal might review the case if the convict decides to appeal the judgment just as the case of Al Mustapha. A man who kills deserves to die. This is a victory for those who are advocating against domestic violence. You cannot kill your wife and go scot free. I believe most housewives experiencing domestic violence would applaud the judgment”.
Barrister Mohammed Fawehinmi shared the same views, “First, we have lost a life here and there are no strong evidence to contradict he actually killed his wife. The judgment should be a deterrent to those who take pleasure in beating their wives. We cannot keep encouraging people who beat their wives at any slight provocation or else somebody can just walk up to you on the street and hack you down since he knows he would go free. The judgment is in order though he has the right to appeal.”
It is not the same with Ms Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti who said she is not an advocate of capital punishment. “I am not an advocate of capital punishment, but that is law for you. Once there are enough evidence, you can’t escape. I don’t believe in an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Life imprisonment would have been the better option. To kill is totally wrong. Nobody has the right to take another person’s life”.
For Esther Ijewere whose organisation is campaigning against rape and other domestic violence, it is a well deserved judgment. “Arowolo’s case is a lesson for all wife/husband murderers. Justice must take its course. I hope this would serve as a warning to those who batter or abuse their wives out there. No more sentiments, say no to violence against women”.
Delivering the judgment on Friday February 21, 2014, Justice Lateefat Okunnu maintained that evidences before the court proved beyond reasonable doubt that Arowolo actually murdered his wife. Relying on a forensic report conducted by Professor John Oladapo Fafunwa, a pathologist, the court held that there was no way the deceased could have stabbed herself to death.
The court held that the victim died as a result of multiple injuries to her chest and abdomen from stabs inflicted on her body and that the accused was responsible for the act with evidences to back it up. The judge also said with evidences on ground no other person entered the couple’s flat which remained locked until the second day when the brother to the defendant, Toyin went in through the roof of the next flat and discovered the body of the deceased on the bed, which suggested that Arowolo who was the last person to visit the flat did it.
Akolade Arowolo was charged with his wife’s murder on Friday, July 7, 2011, before a Yaba
magistrate court, Lagos. The case was later transferred to the Ikeja High Court. The state had alleged that Arowolo
murdered his wife on June 24, 2011, at their residence – 8, Akindeinde Street, Isolo, Lagos. A total of 21 witnesses gave evidence in the case. The Lagos state prosecution team led by Mrs. Olabisi Odugbesan led 15 witnesses to convince the court that Arowolo murdered his wife, and one of them was Professor Fafunwa, whose autopsy report revealed that the late Titilayo was killed through 76 knife stab wounds.
The late Titilayo Arowolo was buried months after the dastardly act. Family and friends gathered at Atan Cemetary, Yaba, Lagos, on Wednesday, November 17, 2011, for an emotional farewell for the former Skye Bank staff.
INTIMATE PROFILE OF LATE TITILAYO AROWOLO
Born on April 9, 1982, in Lagos to the family of Mr. George Oyakhire and late Mrs. Helen Oyakhire, Titilayo was educated at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Delta State. She did her post graduate programme at the Lagos State University from where she met her husband, Akolade. The two got married in 2008 and had their only child in 2009. Titilayo worked for Skye Bank until her death on Friday, June 24, 2011.
WHERE IS OLAMIDE, TITILAYO’S DAUGHTER?
Five year old Olamide, the only child between late Titilayo Arowolo and the convict, Akolade is in the custody of the deceased’s family. Olamide was taken away since the death of her mother and she remains there till date.
AKOLADE’S LIFESTYLE IN IKOYI PRISON
While his trial lasted, Akolade Arowolo hibernated inside Ikoyi Prisons, Lagos. A source revealed that since he was moved to Ikoyi Prisons on Friday, July 8, 2011, from the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Panti Street, Yaba, Lagos, the young man had been sober.
“You wouldn’t believe he was the same Kolade who was accused of killing his wife. When he was not attending to family and other visitors to Ikoyi Prisons, he would be busy reading the bible, sometimes he sang and prayed. He is well behaved, sober and gentle,” our source revealed.
AKOLADE AROWOLO RETURNS TO IKOYI PRISONS
-Gets prison uniform
Convicted wife killer, Akolade Arowolo has been taken back to Ikoyi Prisons, Lagos, while he waits to be led to the gallows. According to our source, Akolade now has a prison uniform since his case has been decided. The law gives him room and opportunity to appeal the death sentence passed on him. This step is what he may likely pursue in the coming days.