Chief Essien Matthew Odiong, 82, Village Head of Efen Ibom in Ika Local Government Area of the State, was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death by hanging by Akwa Ibom State High Court, presided over by Justice Edem Akpan.
The monarch, who has 12 wives and 60 children, was on trial on four counts of conspiracy, ordering an unconstitutional trial by torture, stealing a motorcycle, and killing its owner, Udoma Udo Ubom.
In his Friday ruling, Justice Akpan stated that the accused was found guilty of murdering the deceased by injecting him with a chemical substance, which caused him to pass away on April 26, 2017.
According to the verdict, his siblings accused the late Ubom of being a wizard. This was brought to the Council's attention by the Village Head, who gave the deceased an oath to swear and establish his innocence.
The court held, “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.”
Justice Akpan stated, “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 offence of conspiracy.”
The court further held, “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 substance through a syringe into his buttocks by the village head, caused the death of the deceased.”
The Village Head was given a death by hanging sentence for the murder, a seven-year term with hard labour for overseeing an illegal trial by torture, and a three-year sentence for conspiring with people still at large.
Before the announcement of the sentence, the guilty Village Head, also known as "Kill and Bury," begged the Court to balance justice with mercy.©Standard Gazette, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s publisher is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Standard Gazette with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.