In a significant legal development, an Ekiti State Chief Magistrate Court in Ado Ekiti has handed down a verdict, sentencing two siblings to fifteen months imprisonment each. The duo, Sunday Arowosoki and Gbolaga Arowosoki, faced charges of assaulting a widow whom they accused of witchcraft, as well as engaging in malicious and unlawful damage to two shops.
The incident, which occurred on April 17, 2022, at Ayegunle Ekiti in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State, led to the trial of Sunday Arowosoki (25) and Gbolaga Arowosoki (23) for conspiracy to commit unlawful assault, malicious damage, and unlawful damage of the widow’s properties. The charges were in violation of sections 421, 185, and 354 (1) (8) of the Criminal Law of Ekiti State, 2021.
The widow, Chief Mrs. Rachael Arowosoki, recounted the events in her statement to the police. Following the death of her husband, she became the target of accusations of witchcraft from her late husband’s siblings, who blamed her for his demise and other family members’ deaths. After reporting the allegations to the local authorities, the claims were dismissed as baseless. However, the accused siblings, along with other family members, armed themselves with dangerous weapons and attempted to harm her. Managing to escape, she sought refuge at the palace. In their frustration, the defendants proceeded to destroy her shop located in front of her house.
During the trial, the Police Prosecutor, Inspector Elijah Adejare, presented evidence including witness testimonies, statements from the victim and defendants, hospital receipts, and an admission card to substantiate the case. The defendants, represented by counsel Adegboyega Falowo, also presented their defense, calling three witnesses.
In delivering the judgment, Magistrate Olatomiwa Daramola deemed the evidence provided by the prosecution sufficient to establish the defendants’ involvement in the offenses. Consequently, the court found the defendants guilty and convicted them accordingly. For count one (Assault), the siblings received a three-month imprisonment sentence each or a fine of N10,000. They were discharged and acquitted of count two (Malicious damage), while for count three (Unlawful damage), they received a one-year imprisonment sentence each or a fine of N10,000 in lieu of imprisonment. The terms were to run concurrently, with the fine imposed consecutively.
This verdict highlights the repercussions of engaging in assault and property damage, particularly within the context of family disputes. It serves as a reminder of the significance of upholding the criminal law and ensuring the protection of individuals from unwarranted harm and property destruction.