Court Sentences Akwa Ibom Monarch To Death By Hanging For Murder

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An 82-year-old Village Head of Efen Ibom community in Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Essien Matthew has been sentenced to death by hanging a the state High Court presided over by Justice Edem Akpan for murder.

The monarch, who married to 12 wives and has 60 children, was standing trial on four counts of conspiracy, directing unlawful trial by ordeal, stealing of the motorcycle and murder of the owner, one Udoma Udo Ubom.

Justice Akpan, while delivering judgment on Friday, said the court found the accused guilty of murder of the deceased by injecting some chemical substance on him, leading to his death on 26th April, 2017.

According to the judgement, the late Ubom was accused by his brothers of being a wizard and was reported to the Village Head, who brought him before the Council, where the deceased was administered an oath to swear and prove his innocence.

The court held that “Having sensed the consequences of his criminal activity, the monarch escaped from the Village since 2017 and returned in 2019, when he was arrested by the Police.

“The accused had voluntarily admitted that he sat at Efen Clan Council with five other village heads and members of the Clan Council to try the deceased on the allegation of witchcraft, and the law has relieved the prosecution of the burden to prove the offense of conspiracy.”

The judge further stated: “The admission of the process of trial and the decision of Efen Clan Council to administer oath on the deceased, has logically brought to the conclusion that a plastic bath on the head of the late Udoma Akpan Udo Ubom and injecting some chemical susbtance through a syringe into his buttocks by the village head, caused the death of the deceased.”

Justice Edem Akpan subsequently sentenced the Village Head to death by hanging for murder, seven years imprisonment with hard labour for directing unlawful trial by ordeal and three years imprisonment for conspiracy with others now at large.

However, before the sentence was announced, the convicted Village Head, popularly known as ‘Kill and Bury’ pleaded for leniency, asking the Court to temper justice with mercy.

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