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NIGERIA: FIVE SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDERING RIVERS VIGILANTE COMMANDER

April 14, 2024:

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, on March 18, 2024, convicted and sentenced five people to death by hanging for the murder of Umezuruike Alex, the commander of a local vigilante codenamed OSPAC (Onelga Security Peace and Advisory Committee) in Omudioga community in the Emohua Local Government Area of the state.
The court decreed that the convicts should be hanged or administered lethal injection until they are confirmed dead.
The convicts, Okechukwu Orji from the Atali community in Obio-Akpor; Igwe Promise, Iheanyi Igwe, Morrison Igwe, from Omudioga in Emohua LGA; and Goodness Monday from Akwa Ibom State, were found guilty of 10 counts of conspiracy, cultism, murder, and illegal possession of firearms.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in his judgment, discharged and acquitted the sixth defendant in the suit, Alex Deiwe.
Justice Aprioku held that the prosecution counsel, Essien Edet, proved his case against the other five convicts on charges of conspiracy, cultism, illegal possession of firearms, and murder and, therefore, convicted and sentenced them to be hanged or administered lethal injection until they are confirmed dead.
The court also found that the convicts not only murdered the OSPAC commander of the Omudioga community but were also involved in kidnapping and other criminal activities in parts of the state before their arrest and commencement of prosecution.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, the prosecution counsel, Essien Edet, who is a legal officer at the Rivers State Police Command, expressed happiness over the judgment, which he described as justice well served. Edet further said it would serve as a deterrent to others who are involved in such crimes.
He stated, “I can say that justice has been served. It is a case of the murder of the former OSPAC Commander of the Omudioga community in Emuoha LGA. The case has been on for years. It was a case in which this OSPAC Commander was gruesomely murdered and dismembered by this group of criminals.
“Today, the court has finally given judgment on the matter, and I believe justice has been served. It is a lesson to all those who are going about committing heinous crimes, killing people, taking the lives of human beings as if such are not valuable that justice is also coming after them except they repent.”
PUNCH Metro reported that the former OSPAC commander was killed in 2021, beheaded, and other parts of his body dismembered by the cultists who saw him as a threat to their criminal activities in the area.

(Source: Punch, 19/03/2024)

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