The State versus Damilola Olusolade’s case was as interesting as it was dramatic from the beginning. Right from the point he confessed to detectives at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Iyaganku in 2010, almost a year after he killed his friend, Ifedayo Adebisi, and converted the deceased’s vehicle to his own use, to the date of his conviction, it did not cease to marvel many people that someone could act like Damilola did to his friend, Ifedayo Adebisi, without any reason, justifiable or not, other than greed or selfishness.
Since Sunday Tribune carried the story in detail according to Damilola’s confessional statement during interview, the duty fell on the newspaper to continue to follow the story to see where it would end.
And the end came last Friday, June 7, at Oyo State High Court 8, Ring Road, Ibadan when the presiding judge, Justice Folajomi Oyelaran, handed the accused a death sentence through hanging on count one of the three-count charge, based on the evidences before her.
Not only that, the convict also got two and three years respectively on count two and three of the charges which had to do with concealment of the body and stealing.
The court was filled on the day of the ruling. Lawyers, law school students as well as law students from some universities were in court to witness it.
It was also observed that aside jailors who usually accompanied the suspects, a police patrol vehicle with armed policemen was also stationed within the court premises, an indication to those who were familiar with court system that the day was a day of judgement.
It was the justice the family of the deceased had waited for in the past three years. Though they said that the convict’s death would not replace their son, they were satisfied that his gruesome murder by someone he regarded as close friend had been avenged. Getting Damilola to confess to his deeds did not come easy.
Either out of guilt or hard-heartedness, no one could tell. For those who might not be familiar with the story which was first published in the Sunday Tribune of October, 2010, Damilola and Ifedayo hailed from the same town, Owo in Ondo state. Having grown up in the town together, they attended the same secondary school, after which they went different ways to pursue their tertiary education.
Fate (?) however brought the duo together when they bumped into each other at Oba Adebimpe Road, Dugbe, Ibadan on which the organisations they were both working for were situated.
Reliving their teenage years, the two friends continued their friendship where it stopped many years back, unknown to Ifedayo that his friend was no longer the person he knew before.
Ifedayo built so much trust in Damilola that when he needed to get a vehicle for easy mobility, he contacted his friend and even asked him to accompany him to Berger area of Lagos, where he wanted to buy the car.
After the purchase of the vehicle, Adebisi allowed his friend to be the first person to drive the vehicle, unknown to him that he would never be allowed to savour the joy of ownership.
The convict confessed to have strangulated his bosom friend, Ifedayo, on December 2, 2009 on their way back from Lagos.
Not only did he kill his friend and dumped his body in the bush along the expressway, Damilola also went ahead to register the deceased’s car in his own name and even invited his friends to rejoice with him on the purchase of his new car.
Efforts the deceased’s family to trace him through his ‘bosom friend’ proved abortive as he claimed ignorant of his whereabouts.
But for the insistence of Ifedayo’s mother, Mrs Funmilayo Adebisi Alale, the disappearance of Ifedayo would have been shrouded in mystery for ever. This was because Damilola continually and consistently denied knowing where Ifedayo was.
However, the bubble burst when detectives from the State Criminal Investigative Department, Iyaganku discovered during investigations that the accused still used the deceased’s sim card to call the car dealers who sold the vehicle to his friend, that the gear was not working well.
When faced with evidences that he should know his friend’s whereabouts, Damilola caved in and confessed to his crime, saying he did not know what made him commit the act because Ifedayo was his dear friend who did not offend him in any way.
He declared peace upon himself after the confession, saying “My friend used to eat from my pot. If I had the intention of killing him, I could have poisoned him, which I did not do.
After killing him, I went back to the spot where I dropped his corpse and saw his decomposing body with the cloth torn. Since then, I had not traveled to Lagos because I could not bring myself to pass through that place. “I regret my action but I can’t really say what came over me. Why my friend? He was the breadwinner of the family.
Now my family has deserted me. I have disappointed everyone of them. My mother and my wife were just weeping. Well, whatever happens, I know that God is a merciful One and will still accept me even if I have to die.” Ifedayo’s mother had once told Sunday Tribune after one of the court sessions when the convict was on trial: “What Damilola has done to me is too much. Since Ifedayo’s death, I have not been at peace and my health has failed. I cry every day as Damilola has thrown the entire family into turmoil with his action.”
Also, Ifedayo’s immediate younger sister, Oladeji Adebisi had said that the hearing process should be fast so that the family could have peace.
“Damilola should also be asked what my brother did to him that made him kill him. He should also be prevailed on to return my brother’s laptop, phone, documents and vehicle that are with him. Again, Damilola should tell us where Ifedayo’s corpse is because it has not been found till date.
My brother was the breadwinner of the family and his gruesome murder is a deep pain for us,”she said.
Sunday Tribune learnt that Ifedayo’s vehicle, a Mitsubishi Space Wagon, which lay at the premises of the State CID for a long time, had been handed over to the family. It was also learnt that sentence might be still be appealed at the appeal and supreme courts but the family told the Sunday Tribune that they were sure that the same law which worked against murder cases at the high courts would still be applied at the higher level.