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Iniubong murder: Court sentences Uduak Akpan to death by hanging

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By Ridwan Adekunle

The Akwa Ibom State High Court on Thursday sentenced Uduak Akpan to death by hanging for the murder of Iniubong Umoren.

Umoren, a graduate of Philosophy, University of Uyo, was killed in April 2021. She was job hunting while awaiting mobilisation for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.

The judge, Bassey Nkanang, in his judgment on Thursday, said the convicted man should be killed by hanging.

Ms Umoren went missing on 29 April 2021 after she was lured out of her home in Uyo with a fake job interview by Uduak Akpan.

On April 30, 2011, Ms Umoren’s corpse was disinterred in a shallow grave by police operatives, a day after she was raped and killed at Akpan’s family compound.

Her repulsive murder sparked nationwide outrage and condemnation over increasing rape cases in Nigeria.

The situation forced several Nigerians to use the hashtag #FindHinyUmoren to help track the missing woman’s location or uncover the identity and location of the person she went to meet.

Uduak Umoh, who is a friend of Ms Umoren tweeted during the search then. she heard her scream for help when she established contact with her on the phone.

“She sent me a 1 sec audio record on WhatsApp and I had to call her back to know if she wanted to say something to me but immediately I called her, I heard her screaming.”

When Uduak Akpan first appeared in court on July 26, 2021, he pleaded guilty to murder, but not guilty to rape.

Having admitted to murdering the victim, the court, however, entered a not-guilty plea for the murder of Ms Umoren.

“For a capital offence, an accused person pleading guilty is neither here nor there. As far as the law is concerned, he is not guilty until we (prosecution) prove our case,” the Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State, Uko Udom, who led the prosecution team, told reporters then.

“So, if an accused person pleads guilty in a capital offence like this, the court normally would enter a plea of not guilty for him.”

To the surprise of many, Akpan later made a U-turn during his trial and denied raping and killing Ms Umoren.

He told the court that he had a fever the day he pleaded guilty and that it was the influence of his Investigating Police Office that made him plead guilty.

The convict also denied the confessional statements he made to the police, stressing that a similar statement made to the Department of State Services (DSS) was done under duress.

But Ama Okeke, a call data analyst with the DSS, who testified before the court, presented a video recording of Mr Akpan’s interview session which countered his claims. The court admitted the video as evidence.

Presenting a call record analysis in court, the DSS official said Akpan and Ms Umoren were at the same cell record and coordinate (location) in Nung Ikono Obio in Uruan Local Government Area.

According to Okeke, investigations by the secret service led to the arrest of Mr Akpan’s sister, who is the 3rd accused person, Bassey-Awan, in Calabar, Cross River State.

Apart from his confessional statements to the police and the DSS, the convict told reporters how he lured and killed the victim while he was paraded at the police headquarters in Uyo.

In his testimony before the court to justify his son’s innocence, Frank Akpan, the father of the convict, told the court his son had a mental disorder and was an outpatient at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.

Nkanang also found Mr Akpan guilty of rape and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Akpan confessed to committing the crime, saying he was ready to die if found guilty but recounted his confession days later.

“When I met her, I asked her whether she would like to work in a hard drug farm and she agreed,” Akpan said.

“When we got to the house, I asked her for sex and she agreed and insisted I use condom.

“It was when I tried to remove the condom that she picked up the stabilizer and hit me and blood was coming out of my head.

“At that point, I grabbed the stabilizer and hit her, trying to make her submit peacefully. It was not my intention to kill her, but if at the end of everything I am found guilty, I am ready to also die.”

The judge, Bassey Nkanang, said the prosecution has proved beyond doubt the case of rape and murder against Mr Akpan.

He, however, discharged and acquitted the father and sister of Mr Akpan, who were the 2nd and the 3rd defendants in the case.

After the judge read out the judgment, the convicted rapist attempted to escape from the courtroom but was overpowered by security officials.

Mr Nkanang took over two hours to finish reading the judgement.

After Nkanang read out the judgment, the convicted rapist attempted to escape from the courtroom but was overpowered by security officials.

Crime

UNN lecturer caught pants down inside office with student

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A lecturer of University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, has been caught pants down inside his office with a female student.

The man whose name is yet to be ascertained by newsmen is said to be a lecturer in the School of General Studies of the institution.

The victim is alleged to be someone’s wife.

A voice in the viral video said: “We have been following this case from day one. As you can see we have all the chats, voice notes, videos and everything.”

Commenting under the video, a student identified the man in the video, claiming he taught him Peace and Conflict, a course under General Studies, during his time in UNN.

He said: “That is my lecturer in UNN, he taught us Peace and Conflict under GS in my time. We called him or rather, he called himself “The Short Man.” He was very strict with us in class. It’s unfortunate that he was involved in this.”

Another source said: “When he wants to sleep with someone’s wife? Well, it was planned by her husband, UNN security with some students. Even when the lady offered him money he refused. Well, with this, if he still remains, he will never try that again”.

When contacted to speak on the matter, the Public Relations Officer of the institution said he was yet to see the video.

He said he would investigate to find out if it’s true.

Meanwhile, a lecturer, who sought to remain anonymous identified the location of where the incident happened as a GS building. He, however, said he couldn’t disclose the name of the man in the video.

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Crime

Justice served: Two defendants await sentence for motorcycle theft

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In a recent case brought before the Magistrates’ Court in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, the wheels of justice turned decisively as two individuals, John Simon and Yusuf Nikie, found themselves facing the weight of the law for their involvement in the theft of a motorcycle. Their guilty pleas echoed through the courtroom, leading Magistrate Michael Bawa to order their remand in a correctional facility pending further proceedings, with the final judgment slated for May 2.

Simon and Nikie stood accused by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, charged on two counts: conspiracy and theft. The narrative unfolded as Prosecutor Marcus Audu presented the facts to the court. According to Audu, the saga began when Tanko Umaru, the aggrieved party, filed a report at the corps’ office in Kafanchan on April 13, detailing the disturbing incident.

The prosecution outlined the sequence of events, alleging that the defendants brazenly entered Umaru’s residence in Bakin Kogi and absconded with his prized possession—an emblem of mobility and livelihood—a Bajaj motorcycle. Yet, their scheme was thwarted as the long arm of the law swiftly intervened. The diligent efforts of law enforcement culminated in the apprehension of Simon and Nikie during the investigative process, with the stolen motorcycle discovered in their possession, serving as damning evidence against them.

The gravity of their actions was underscored by the legal framework within which they operated. Audu emphasized that Simon and Nikie had transgressed against the provisions outlined in Sections 58 and 270 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, reflecting the severity of their offenses under the jurisdiction of the court.

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Lagos trader jailed 5 years for receiving N2.19m stolen property

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An Ikeja Magistrates’ Court on Monday sentenced a 22-year-old trader, Mohammed Abdulhamid, to five years imprisonment for receiving stolen property worth N2.19 million.

The convict who resides in Ayobo area, Lagos, had pleaded guilty to the two-count charge of conspiracy and receiving stolen property.

The Magistrate, Mrs O. O. Fagbohun, sentenced the convict to Kirikiri Correctional Centre without an option of fine.

Fagbohun noted that the sentence would serve as a deterrent to others.

Earlier, the Prosecutor, Insp. Felicia Okwori, told the court that the offences were committed between June  2023 at 56, Captain Davies Road, Ayobo, Lagos.

Okwori said the convict received stolen property from one Mohammed Awalu, security guard to the complainant, Mrs Omolola Idowu.

She disclosed that Awalu is currently serving his jail term on the same offences.

She added that the convict and others still at large stole the complainant’s property when she travelled.

The prosecutor listed the stolen property to include two gates valued at N540,000, window protectors worth N870,000 and a power generator worth N300,000.

She listed other stolen items as ceiling fan worth N25,000, gas cooker N375,000, and a pumping machine valued at N85,000, all totalling N2.19 million.

According to the prosecutor, the offences contravene Sections 328 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015

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