- An Igbo group has begged the federal government not to kill Rev King
- The group's leader, Udo Udeogaranya, asked the government to commute the sentence and grant him a pardon
- Udeogaranya said that Rev King is still the spiritual father of many people
Following the Supreme Court approval of the death sentence handed to the convicted General-Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, also known as Rev. King, the Ndigbo Cultural Society of Nigeria (NCSN) has begged the federal government not to make haste in executing the death sentence, PM News reports.
A unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of justices led by Justice Walter Onnoghen, on February 26 upheld the death sentence that was earlier handed to Ezeugo by the Lagos state high court in 2007, presided over by Justice Joseph Oyewole.
The apex court in a lead judgment delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, dismissed the appeal filed by Rev. King for lacking in merit and held that the facts of the case were “like what you see in a horror movie.”
Reacting to the development, the leader of the Igbo group, Chief Udo Udeogaranya, in a statement issued on February 26, urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to “commute the sentence and grant him pardon as Nigeria stands to gain nothing by shedding blood.
“This plea is premised on the ground that many Nigerians still hold Rev. Ezeugo as their spiritual leader even in various prisons and that the initial trial in Lagos as purportedly put forward by his lawyer Mr. Olalekan Ojo and published by national dailies was a miscarriage of justice in which the lawyer made certain points that demanded a second thought.
“Ojo argued that his client did not commit the crime and was not at the scene of the incident. He insisted that the deceased, Ann Uzoh, had in two statements she made after the incident and before her death, stated that she got burnt in a generator accident and that the cleric was not responsible for her injuries.
“Ojo said the Investigating Police Officer, IPO, had tendered statements which stated that Ezeugo was not responsible for the burns that led to Uzoh’s death. He alleged that the trial Judge refused to admit in evidence, the statements he said exonerated Ezeugo of the crime.
“The lawyer further contended had those ‘vital exhibits’ been admitted rather than expunged by the trial judge, they would have operated to cast serious doubt on the case of the prosecution. He maintained that Justice Oyewole’s refusal to admit the exhibits in evidence ‘occasioned a great miscarriage of justice’ against his client,” the statement reads.
The Lagos state government has lauded the Supreme Court for upholding the judgment of the state’s High Court that sentenced Rev. King to death by hanging.
Rev. King was sentenced to death by a Lagos high court in Ikeja, on January 11, 2007, for the murder of one of his church members, Ann Uzoh. He appealed the judgment through his lawyer asking the apex court to overturn the high court’s judgement.