An Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos Island on Wednesday sentenced three octogenarians to a total of 42 months imprisonment for unlawful damage and forceful entry of an acre of land.
The accused – Wonuola Ajasa ,80; Yekini Agufon, 81; and Amos Oshin, 86 – were first arraigned on September 5, 2013, on a four-count charge bordering on stealing, unlawful damage and breach of peace.
The trio pleaded not guilty and were granted bails.
The Magistrate, W. B. Balogun, who gave the verdict, however, gave them an option of N300,000 fine.
Mr. Balogun had acquitted the trio of stealing charge, insisting that the offence of stealing was not proved by the prosecution.
He sentenced them to six months each or a fine of N50,000 on count two of forceful entry of a piece of land and three months each or a fine of N30,000 on count three (possession of land without valid papers).
On count four (damage), the magistrate sentenced them to five months each or a fine of N20,000.
He said the sentences would run consecutively and that the convicts should remain in prison or pay a fine of N100,000 each because of their age.
Mr. Balogun, however, reprimanded the convicts for showing bad examples to the younger generation.
The News of Agency of Nigeria reports that following a plea of not guilty, the case was adjourned until October 25, 2013 for mention.
During the trial, the prosecution called three witnesses and the magistrate ruled that the accused had a case to answer.
Earlier, the prosecutor, Ingobo Emby, had told the court that the trio committed the offences on April 20, 2013 at Parafa Aro Ikorodu, Lagos State.
He said that the accused conducted themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of peace by forcibly entering an acre of land belonging to the complaint, Adewale Adeniran.
Mr. Ingobo said that without a claim of rights, the accused sold a plot land belonging to Mr. Adeniran and unlawfully damaged a fence built on the land.
The offences contravened Sections 52, 53, 337 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.