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Drama as court commits three to death by hanging over kidnap, murder in Ebonyi

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It was a dramatic scene yesterday at the Abakaliki High Court 5 premises, when Justice D.O. Okoh sentenced three accused persons standing trial for murder since 2012 to death by hanging.

Delivering verdict on suit No: HIK/5c/2012, the judge ordered that the trio of 22-year-old Ebenezer Amaga alongside Obinna Nwuruku, 24, and Ifeanyi Ekoh, 23, be put on death roll for their involvement in the kidnap and subsequent killing of one 14-year-old Miss Ukamaka Immaculata Igboji.

The Guardian learnt that the victim, who was slaughtered and her private parts taken away by the first accused person, was incidentally named after Amaga’s mother, who reportedly ‘birthed’ the deceased’s parents during their wedding.

Investigations, which had been proven by an Ikwo High Court revealed that the first accused person had sometime in 2012, lured the victim away from a Catholic Church, where she had attended Mass to a nearby bush where he tied her face with her head-tie before beheading her and removing her vagina, breasts and other vital body parts.

According to a prosecutor at the Department for Public Prosecution, Abakaliki, who pleaded not to be mentioned, the first accused person had collaborated with the second and third accused persons to sell the body parts of the victim to ritualists in Lagos.

It was gathered that as police waded in to unravel the matter after discovery of the victim’s decomposing body in the bush, the first accused was implicated by those who had sighted him luring the victim out of the church premises on the day the incident took place.

Upon being charged under Section 4(1) (a) of the Ebonyi State Internal Security and other Related Offences law in May 2012, the police investigations gave a clue via his dialed calls on his telephone to the suspected buyers, who were also lured by the police and were consequently arrested.

They had been standing trial and sources in Abakaliki prisons claimed that the trio had become ‘very notorious’ in the prisons with allegations that they were among those behind the botched jailbreak in the Abakaliki Federal Prisons in August last year.

This, they said, had compelled the prison authorities to transfer them to Nsukka and Oji River prisons from where they have been coming for their trials in Abakaliki.

Justice, however, came the way of the victim at noon yesterday when Justice Okoh ruled: “I have evaluated all the facts before me. I have diligently followed the prosecution of this matter. It is evident from the facts before this court that the accused persons did commit the act.

“They are, hereby, in accordance with the laws of the state, sentenced to death by hanging,” she ruled.

A mild drama had ensued before the commencement of the reading of the judgment when the prison officer who brought the suspects to court asked them to hasten up. The trio had immediately started screaming and echoing songs, which only they could understand.

It got even worse when they stared running as though they wanted to escape from the law enforcement officers. This created panic and tension in the usually quiet court premises, thus, forcing the prison officials to reinforce and subsequently, got them handcuffed.

The conviction warrants were later to be signed and they were conveyed to the Enugu Federal Prisons to await the hangman’s noose.

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