The aphorism that “the law is no respecter of persons and will bring good or evil to any, according to his use or misuse of it” has played out in the life of an 82-year-old monarch in Akwa Ibom State, who has been sent to the gallows for murder.
Chief Essien Matthew Odiong, the Village Head of Efen Ibom in Ika council area of the state, has been sentenced to death by hanging for stealing a motorcycle and killing the owner.
Persecondews reports that shortly before the death sentence was pronounced on the village head, a.k.a “Kill and Bury’’, had pleaded for leniency, urging the court to temper justice with mercy.
An Akwa Ibom State High Court, presided by Justice Edem Akpan, which handed down the death verdict by scheduling an appointment for Odiong with the hangman, ruled the traditional ruler was convicted for injecting some chemical substances into the deceased which led to his death on April 26, 2017.
Persecondnews reports that the monarch, who is married to 12 wives and has 60 children, was tried for conspiracy, directing unlawful trial by ordeal, stealing of the motorcycle and murder of the owner, one Udoma Udo Ubom.
Justice Akpan said 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 made to swear to an oath to prove his innocence.
He ruled in his about two hours judgment: “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 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 susbtances through a syringe into his buttocks by the village head, caused the death of the deceased.”
For the heinous crimes, Justice Akpan said the court was left with no option than to sentence the village head to death by hanging for murder, seven years imprisonment with hard labour for directing unlawful trial by ordeal and another three years for conspiracy with others still on the run.