There was confusion in Ibom State High Court as Uduak Akpan, the first accused in the murder of Akwa Ibom job seeker, Iniobong Umoren, was sentenced to death by hanging.
The court also found the accused guilty of rape and accordingly sentenced him to life imprisonment for having carnal knowledge of the deceased whom he lured to his father’s house in Uruan local government in April 2021 under the pretext of offering her a job.
Delivering judgement which lasted for almost two hours on Thursday, Nkanang, discharged and acquitted the convicts father, Frank Akpan and sister, Anwan Bassey (2nd and 3rd defendant) accused of accessory after the fact to murder, respectively.
Nkanang stated, “This court has proved beyond reasonable doubts that you ,Uduak Akpan is guilty of murder and you are charged accordingly. You are to die by hanging until you rot away.”
However, there was confusion in the court as the convict attempted to escape shortly after the sentence was announced by the trial judge.
Our correspondent reports that the convict came out of the dock and immediately grabbed a lawyer by the neck before the security operatives swooped on him, grabbed, and beat him mercylessly, causing a stir in the court.
Speaking after the judgement, the State Attorney general and Commissioner of Justice, Barr. Uko Udom, expressed satisfaction over the ruling of the matter.
He said, “I thank the presiding judge over the way and manner this matter has been conducted. The judge was able to take a day out, tried the case on a day-to-day basis and at the end of the day, we had a judgement that the justice system works. We are very happy about the outcome of the case.
Speaking on the next line of action, the commissioner said, “As you can see, the first defendant has been led into custody and the 2nd and 3rd defendant have been discharged and acquitted. We intend as a state to analyze that judgement and see if there are any grouse and take a decision but the judge has done a good job.”
Commenting on the attempted escape of the convict, the Justice commissioner said he was not surprised at his behaviour
He said, “It’s not something to be surprised about. Someone that committed such gruesome offences and I’m not surprised for him to do something as bad as he did here but the security officials were very alert and attentive, that was why they stopped him.
“I won’t fail to commend the officers of the Nigeria police force and the DSS for their diligence in the prosecution of the matter, they did great jobs in the investigation though sometimes the public especially on social media accuse them of complicity but they have done well.”
Reacting to the judgement, counsel to Uduak Akpan, Barr Samson Adula, said a lot of people were interested in justice in the matter, adding that justice had been served.
“All we are interested in is justice, and justice has been done, the person that was supposed to be convicted has been convicted, the other two defendants were discharged and acquitted, that is justice of the case. The work of defence counsel is to ensure the rules were followed and not to defend at all cost,” he said.
Elder brother to the deceased, Mr. Ephraim Umoren, expressed satisfaction in the judgement and commended the governor Udom Emmanuel and wife, Mrs Martha Emmanuel for their support to the family.
“I’m happy that justice has already been done and I want to thank the governor and the wife for standing by us,” he said.
The deceased elder sister, Ifiok Umorem, while hailing the judgement called on both the state and federal governments to provide employment for the teeming youths to address youth unemployment in the the country.
SOURCE: PUNCH NEWS