Nollywood actress, and embattled president of Actor’s guild of Nigeria, Ibinabo Fiberesima, has been sentenced to five years in prison by Justice Deborah Oluwayemi of the Lagos High Court, for reckless driving which caused the death of Suraj in an auto accident along the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos.
Just last weekend, the ex beauty queen was among the best dressed in the AMVCA awards, one week after, she battles with the challenges of going back to prison and leaving her children in the care of her husband who she married only 15 months ago.
This case was filed in 2005 by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, who charged Fiberesima to an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court on a two-count charge of dangerous and reckless driving which cost the life of Suraj.
Meanwhile, the magistrate court had earlier given Mrs Ibinabo an option of N100,000 fine for the offence. However, the judgment of the magistrate replaced the fine with a jail term. Despite Fiberesima’s appeal through her lawyer, Mr Nnaemeka Amaechina, to the court, the judgement dismissed her appeal on Friday when her verdict was read out.
In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Jamilu Yammama Tukur, the court held that the trial Magistrate Court lacked the discretion to grant Ibinabo an option of fine after her conviction. It held further that the appeal lacked merit. Justice Oluwayemi went ahead with her prosecution, sentencing Fiberesima to five years imprisonment. She also ordered that the N100,000 be returned to Fiberesima.
The court added that Section 28 of the Road Traffic Law clearly provides that where a reckless and dangerous driving has caused the death of a person, the accused person shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment of seven years.
Ibinabo, who was unable to contain her disappointment, burst into tears immediately the judgment was delivered. The court was not moved by her tears, however, proceeded in ordering her to appear before it on judgement day. Ibinabo’s lawyer, Nnaemeka Amaechina, said it would be challenged at the Supreme Court adding that a Notice of Appeal had been filed already. Justice Odutola further submitted that the children of the deceased have been permanently deprived of the ‘’measureless contributions’’ of their father to their lives as a result of his death caused by the appellant.