There was pandemonium today at the Akwa Ibom State judiciary headquarters, Uyo following an attempt by Uduak Akpan to escape from the court premises shortly after he was sentenced to death by hanging.
Justice Bassey Nkanang had during his 2 hours, 30 minutes judgment, found Uduak Akpan guilty of murder of a job seeker, Miss Iniubong Umoren on 29 April, 2021.
Justice Nkanang also on count two, found Uduak Akpan who is a native of Nung Ikot Obio in Uruan Local Government Area guilty of rape of the victim (Miss Iniubong Umoren) and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
The trial judge, however, discharged and acquitted Uduak Akpan’s father, Mr Frank Akpan, and his sister, Basseyanwan Frank Akpan of “Accessories to the crime” as provided in Section 329 of the Criminal Code, Cap 38 Vol 2 Laws of Akwa Ibom State, 2000.
The court in its judgment, disclosed that a total of 13 witnesses testified before it out of which 10 were prosecuting witnesses while the other three were the Defense witnesses who incidentally were the the three Defendants.
The court further revealed that 20 Exhibits were tendered before it, among them, exhibits 6,12 & 18 which are the confessional statements of the first defendant, Uduak Frank Akpan. Exhibit 5 was statement of Defense Witness 2 Mr Frank Akpan while exhibit 19 was statement of Defense Witness 3, Basseyanwan Frank Akpan.
Other exhibits presented before the court by the prosecuting counsel during the trial that lasted 10 months, include result from a pathologist, one Dr. Emeka Nwafor, photographs of murdered victim, shovel used by Uduak Frank Akpan, electricity stabilizer, electric iron used in carrying out the ignominious murder act, among others.
Justice Bassey Nkanang in his painstaking judgment, found the accused person (Uduak Frank Akpan) of count one and two and sentenced him accordingly as the prosecuting team has proven the case of murder beyond reasonable doubt.
He said that the prosecuting team failed to establish accessory to facts of murder against the Defense Witness 2&3 (Frank Akpan and Basseyanwan Frank Akpan) and then discharged and acquitted them accordingly.
Shortly before making the death sentence pronouncement, Justice Nkanang gave Uduak Akpan a chance to make his last plea. Rather than make his plea for leniency, the defiant convict said that he is “not guilty” of murder charge.
He added that ” there are many killings going on in the state and country today but they are not prosecuting them”. Even an attempt by his counsel to let him see reasons he should plead for leniency proved abortive.
Reacting to the judgement, the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Uko Udom, SAN, commended Justice Bassey Nkanang for accelerated trial and sound judgment. He also commended the prosecuting team (State Counsel) for diligence prosecution.
Also in his reaction, a former Attorney General of the State, Uwemedimo, SAN, who represented the complainants in the murder case, praised the learned judge for giving justice to the deceased.
A brother to the deceased Iniubong Umoren, Mr. Ukeme Umoren said that justice has been done to her sister. He said that justice should not only be done but seen done.
A sister to the deceased Iniubong Umoren, Enomfon Umoren in an emotional reaction, thanked the court for giving sister justice.
However, there was a serious commotion inside the court room when Uduak Akpan was escorted to a seat by prison officials as he made his way to the entrance of the court and hit a lawyer in an attempt to escape. The commotion disrupted court activities as everyone inside the court tried to watch the act of the heartless murderer.
The combined security operatives who were strategically positioned within and outside the State Judiciary Headquarters quickly mobilized and and ensure that Uduak Frank Akpan did not escape. He was immediately handcuffed both hands and legs and whisked into the prison van and zoomed off to the prison.