- An 85-year-old monarch has been sentenced to death by hanging by a High Court sitting in Akwa Ibom
- The court convicted Chief Essien Matthew Odiong of charges bordering on murder and seven years imprisonment with hard labour for directing unlawful trial by ordeal and three years imprisonment for conspiracy with others who are now at large
- The village head who is popularly known as ‘Kill and Bury’ pleaded for leniency from the court on the day of his judgement
An Akwa Ibom state High Court has sentenced the traditional leader of Efen Ibom in Ika local government area of the state, Chief Essien Matthew Odiong to death by hanging.
The court presided by Justice Edem Akpan ordered that the traditional leader be executed by hanging following the murder of one Udoma Udo Ubom.
The Punch reports that Chief Odiong who is married to 12 women and has a total of 60 children was standing trial on four counts of conspiracy, directing unlawful trial by ordeal, stealing of the motorcycle and murder of the owner - Udoma Udo Ubom.
In his judgement, Justice Akpan said that the court found Odiong guilty of Ubom's murder by injecting a chemical substance which led to his death on April 26, 2017, on him.
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Justice Akpan also said that a submission was made by the prosecution that the late Ubom was accused by his brothers of being a wizard.
He was reported to the village head who later summoned him before the council where Ubom was administered an oath to swear and prove his innocence.
How the traditional leader ran away from the community since 2017
Justice Akpan held in his judgement that sensed the consequences of his criminal activity, the traditional leader escaped from the community in 2017 but returned in 2019.
He was then arrested by the police in the state and charged before the Akwa Ibom state High Court.
The judge said:
“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.”
Further giving out the court's judgement, Akpan said that the admission of the process of the trial and the decision of members of the Efen Clan council to administer an oath on the deceased has logically brought to the conclusion on the death of Ubom.
He said the court in its conclusion holds that a plastic bath on the head of the late Ubom and the injection of some chemical substances through a syringe into his butttocks by the village head led to his death.
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Following the address by the judge, the court sentenced Odiong 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.
It was also noted that shortly before the court reeled out its sentences, the village head who is popularly known as ‘Kill and Bury’ pleaded for leniency.
Odiong asked the court to temper justice with mercy.
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