Bus Driver Sentenced to 12 Years for Killing LASTMA Officer


Bus Driver Sentenced to 12 Years for Killing LASTMA Officer

On Thursday, July 4, the Lagos High Court in Ikeja sentenced commercial bus driver Elijah Shokoya to 12 years in prison for the manslaughter of Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) officer Olawale Akinmade. Justice Oyindamola Ogala ruled that the Lagos State Government had successfully proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Shokoya’s actions led to Akinmade’s death on January 27, 2012.


In her judgment, Justice Ogala stated, “The prosecution has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased’s death resulted from the defendant’s unlawful actions, which were carried out with the knowledge that injury or grievous bodily harm was a likely consequence.”


The state government accused Shokoya of striking Akinmade with a blue and black Opel space bus (license plate AAA 74) while Akinmade was directing traffic. The incident, which occurred at the Demurin Street junction towards Mile 12 in Lagos, resulted in severe injuries to Akinmade’s head and body. The charges were based on Section 224 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015, and were punishable under Section 229.


Shokoya, who was arraigned on June 23, 2021, pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge. Justice Ogala emphasized that the prosecution had the burden of proof in criminal cases, requiring evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.


The judge noted, “There is no dispute regarding the death of Akinmade Samson Olawale.”


First prosecution witness Aderonke Malik testified that she saw Shokoya pushing Akinmade in front of his vehicle. Despite Malik’s pleas for Shokoya to stop, he continued driving until Akinmade was knocked down.


Justice Ogala pointed out that the investigating police officer also provided direct evidence, which the court found credible despite the defense’s arguments. She clarified that proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not require absolute certainty but must present a high degree of probability.


“The Honourable Court finds the defendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter and accordingly convicts him,” Ogala concluded. “The defendant is hereby sentenced to 12 years imprisonment from the day of judgment.”


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