3 murder suspects regain freedom, barely 2 yrs in prison custody

www.odogwublog.com reports that three ex-vigilante operatives standing trial for alleged conspiracy and murder have at last regained their freedom following a judgment of an Onitsha High Court which discharged and acquitted them.

The accused persons, Ajuluchi Osulor, Okechukwu Okafor (a.k.a. Omekannaya) and Ifeanyi Ogueri had been arraigned before the court since May, 2015 for allegedly murdering one Ifeanyi Mba, a vigilante operative on April 22, 2015 at Okpoko community within Onitsha metropolis. 

In his tacit judgment, the presiding judge of Onitsha High Court III, Justice Chudi Nwankwo stated that the prosecution failed woefully to produce substantial evidence that would convince the court to believe that the defendants had hands in the murder of the deceased.

Justice Nwankwor noted that the court was tempted to believe the evidence of the fourth defence witness, DW4, Chinedu Agwu who in his evidence during the proceedings, testified before the court that one of the prosecution witnesses, John Igude was given a N30,000 inducement by one Chief Linus Ezenwamma, the caretaker committee chairman of Okpoko community development association to write a statement to the police incriminating Okechukwu Okafor, the second defendant in the murder of Ifeanyi Mba, just because Ezenwamma owed them eight months salary arrears amounting to N7.7 million and sacked them and when they wanted to press for their payment, he roped them into the murder case so as to put them away for life.

Justice Nwankwor said he observed that the evidences of the first, second, third and fourth prosecution witnesses, as well as the fifth prosecution witness who incidentally is the Investigating Police Officer, IPO were inconsistent with one another and wobbling, adding that the IPO relied more on the evidences and allegations of the prosecution witnesses than carrying our proper investigation into the matter.

The court stated that although it was true that the late Mba was actually murdered by a group of persons on April 22, 2015, the prosecution could not prove beyond all reasonable doubts that any of the three accused persons participated in the murder, as alleged, adding that it was on this basis that he was discharging and acquitting them for failure to prove their case beyond all reasonable doubts.  

Responding, counsel to the second accused persons, Charles Okafor Esq., who described judiciary as the last hope of a common man, commended the court for its erudite judgement and for failing to convict innocent persons who were falsely accused of killing the deceased as a ploy to silence them from continuing to demand for their salary arrears, as former vigilante operatives at Okpoko community. 

Agwu had while testifying as DW4, as was being led in evidence by counsel to the second accused person, Charles Tochukwu Okafor Esq., told the court that he had worked with Okafor, a vigilante operative attached to Okpoko Central Unit of Anambra state Vigilante Services, AVS in the same vigilante team for over five years and as such was sure Okafor was not responsible for Mba's death.

Agwu alleged that it was rather the incumbent Chairman of Okpoko Layout Caretaker Committee and former member that represented Ogbaru I state constituency in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Linus Ezenwamma that gave the N30,000 inducement to Igude to write the incriminating statement to the police accusing Okafor of killing Mba.

Agwu who introduced himself as the commander of Ogbudike street camp of AVS, Okpoko, further testified that the N30,000 inducement was promised and given to Igude, by Ezenwamma at Okpoko Health Centre.

He maintained that apart from the N30,000 inducement, Ezenwamma also promised to make Igude, another vigilante operative and native of Obinagu village, Udi in Enugu state the commander of AVS in Okpoko if he writes the incriminating statement to the police which would nail Okafor, the second defendant and which they did.

Agwu contended that it was based on the N30,000 financial inducement and promise to become the vigilante commander that Igude eventually wrote the incriminating statement to the police which led to the arraignment of Okafor in court and remanding him in the prison custody, adding that not satisfied with the incriminating statement, Igude equally came to the court and gave a false evidence that he saw Okafor murdering the late Mba on Appril 22, 2015.

3 murder suspects regain freedom, barely 2 yrs in prison custody 3 murder suspects regain freedom, barely 2 yrs in prison custody Reviewed by Ibenta Chukwudi on Monday, May 29, 2017 Rating: 5

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