A’ Ibom monarch to die by hanging for killing subject over witchcraft allegations.
By Isaac Job
Akwa Ibom state High court sitting in Uyo has sentenced the village Head of Efen Ibom chief Essien Matthew Odiong in Ika local government area of the state to death by hanging.
Delivering judgement on Friday, the presiding Judge Justice Edem Akpan found the monarch guilty of a four count charge of conspiracy, presiding over unlawful trial by ordeal, stealing of motorcycle belonging to the victim and murder of Udoma Akpan Udo Ubom – owner of the stolen motorbike.
The late Ubom was accused by his brothers of being a wizard and was reported to the Village Head, who brought him before the Efen Clan Council, where the deceased was made to swear to an oath to clear himself.
It was gathered that the village Head, 82 married to 12 wives and 60 children presided over the trial by ordeal where the deceased was forced to swear and substances injected into him using a syringe.
In a judgment, the Court presided over by Justice Edem Akpan, found the accused guilty of murder of Udoma Akpan Udo Ubom by injecting some chemical substance on him, leading to his death on 26th April 2017.
The Court held that “having sensed the consequences of his criminal activity, the monarch escaped from the Village in 2017 and returned in 2019 when he was arrested by the Police.”
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Justice Akpan also held that since “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, the law has relieved the prosecution of the burden to prove the offence of conspiracy.”
According to the Court, “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 substances through a syringe into his buttocks by the village head, caused the death of the deceased.”
Justice Edem Akpan 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.
Before the death sentence, the convicted Village Head, popularly known as “Kill and Bury” pleaded for leniency and asked the Court to temper justice with mercy.
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