While conversing on Baba Ijesa’s conviction with my friend, my friend touched on the conflict of the reports made by the Nigeria media in respect of his jail term.
He said some reported that Baba Ijesa was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment while some reported that he was sentenced to 16 years. He said he does not know which to believe between the two sentences.I told him the two reports are correct,he should believe the two. This is the reason.
The Trial Judge convicted Baba Ijesa on 4 different Counts( 4 Offences)and sentenced him as follows: for Count Two, he was jailed for three years; Count Three, five years; Count Four, three years and sentenced five years for Count Five. He stated that the Sentences should run CONCURRENTLY.
A Trial Judge has discretion to pronounce whether a sentence on one offence on a particular charge should run CONCURRENTLY or CONSECUTIVELY with another sentence on another offence on the same charge.
Sentences run concurrently when the imprisonment term of the accused on two different Offences are observed at the same time. By implication,if an accused is sentenced to 2 years on one offence and 3 years on another,he will only serve the maximum sentence between the two which is the 3 years.
Therefore,in Baba Ijesa’s case,his total years of imprisonment is 16 years when we sum all the years of imprisonment on all the offences together.So,the version of reports which say 16 years is correct to this extent. But the Trial Judge pronounced that the sentence should run concurrently, therefore Baba Ijesa will only serve the maximum sentence among the years of imprisonment which is 5 years.
Therefore,the other version which says 5 years is also correct.
In summary, Baba Ijesa will serve 16 years jail term but will only spend 5 years inside the prison, provided he does not appeal or his Appeal does not succeed.
Prince Afeez Kilani-Olarinre Esq writes from Abuja.