A Lagos High Court in Igbosere has sentenced an Internet scammer, Demola Ajibade, to 15 years’ imprisonment for attempted robbery.

Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya convicted Ajibade, 36, of attempting to rob his childhood friend, Charles Akpati, with a toy gun on February 7, 2014.

The sentence, which takes effect from the date of his arrest in February 2014, was without an option of fine.

Ajibade, from Ijebu Ode in Ogun State, but living in Festac Town, Lagos, was arraigned on June 24, 2014 on a one-count charge of attempted robbery.

Prosecuting counsel Adebayo Haroun said the offences contravened Section 296(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Ajibade pleaded not guilty.

According to The Nation, during a three years and nine months trial, the court heard how the incident occurred near a bus garage in Ikorodu, Lagos.

Akpati, a customer care executive, said Ajibade stopped him on the road and identified himself as his former neighbour at Festac Town.

He said: “I asked him to explain how we met and he mentioned my secondary school, Festac College.

“Later he said someone did not like me in my office and that he had been mandated to kill me. He lifted up his shirt a little. There was a gun there. He said he would kill me and that that was what he did for a living. He said eyes were on me and I could not escape because his members were in hiding, watching us, but that he had decided not to kill me.”

The victim said Ajibade demanded N300,000 to spare his life, but he negotiated for N100,000.

“Ajibade accepted and followed me to a nearby commercial bank so I could withdraw the money.”

Akpati said: “He followed me to the bank and on getting to the security door, he said he would not enter with me because of the gun and warned me not to misbehave when I got inside.”

The victim said he quickly informed the bank’s security officials, who, with a mobile policeman, Corporal A. Richard, from a nearby commercial bank, pursued and arrested Ajibade.

The prosecution said police investigation showed that Ajibade specialised in Internet scam, also known as Yahoo Yahoo and had been fraudulently obtaining money from victims in Italy.

The suspect denied the allegation.

He claimed that Akpati owed him money and refused to pay, adding that he set him up for an unlawful arrest by the police.

Justice Ogunsanya held that Akpati’s evidence, as well as that of eyewitnesses, including the exhibits tendered, were credible.

The judge added: “The victim identified the defendant as the person who tried to rob him. The court is satisfied that the defendant is as guilty as charged.”

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