Iniobong Umoren: Court sentences killer to death as security foiled attempted escape

The Akwa Ibom State High Court, Thursday, found Uduak Akpan, guilty of killing Iniobong Umoren, and sentenced him to death by hanging. 

But just as he was being led out of the courtroom after the ruling, the convict attempted to bolt.

It took the intervention of several security operatives including the Police and the Nigeria Correctional Service to restrain him.

Earlier in a four-hour ruling, Justice Bassey Nkanang had said that Mr. Uduak is guilty of the murder and rape of Miss Umoren. 

While he was sentenced to death for murder, the court also sentenced him to life imprisonment for rape.

The judge, however, discharged and acquitted his father, Frank Akpan and the sister, Basseyanwan. 

Justice Nkanang held that the prosecution has discharged its burden of proving the offense of rape and murder against Mr. Uduak.

The judge said the prosecution failed to prove the charge of accessory after the fact of murder against the convict’s father and sister.

In a tension-soaked courtroom, Mr. Uduak was asked to speak shortly after the judge had finished reading the judgment. 

“My Lord, a lot of assassinations happen in this country and government has not done anything about them. My Lord, I am not guilty,” Mr. Uduak said defiantly.

Uduak Akpan being led out of the courtroom by armed security operatives
Uduak Akpan being led out of the courtroom by armed security operatives

Speaking, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Uko Udom, SAN, expressed satisfaction with the court’s ruling. 

Mr. Udom, who said the court is the last hope of the common man, noted that his ministry will study the judgment with a view to appealing the acquittal of the convict’s father and sister.

On his part, counsel to the convict, Sampson Adula, noted that though justice has been done, there was need for the state government to employ late Miss Umoren’ siblings. 

Mr. Adula said it is the only way justice can be done to the deceased job seeker.

However, Abasiodiong Ekpenyong, counsel to Mr. Akpan and Mrs. Basseyanwan, said the judgment has proved that his clients were not involved in the rape and murder of Miss Umoren. 

The convonviction of Mr. Uduak has drawn the curtain on the six-month trial in which 13 witnesses testified among them, Iniobong Effiong Ekpenyong, the Chairman of Uruan Local Government Area.

A total of 20 exhibits were tendered and admitted, inclduing a stabiliser the convict used in hitting Miss Umoren on the head as well as the shovel he used in digging the shallow grave he buried her. 

Mr. Uduak had assaulted, raped and murdered Miss Umoren, after luring her to his father’s residence along the Airport Road in Uyo on the pretext of offering her a job. 

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