Iniubong Umoren’s alleged rapist and killer, Uduak Akpan, has denied ever meeting her.
Mr Akpan said this at the State High Court in Uyo, while opening his defence in his trial for murder and rape of the late woman.
“My Lord, I do not know Miss Iniubong Umoren. I only came to know that name when I was served with the proceedings of this trial at the Prison,” Mr Akpan said during cross-examination by the prosecution.
He also said: “For the second charge of rape, my Lord, I do not know anything about rape. I have never raped anybody.
“I pleaded guilty because I had fever on that day and my IPO’s influence in the court.”
Mr Akpan was evasive while in the dock. He rambled each time the prosecution asked him a question.
The judge, Bassey Nkanang, in the proceedings, advised Mr Akpan’s lawyer to bring his client back to “the case that brought him to court”.
The prosecution counsel refused to cross-examine him further, while Mr Akpan’s lawyer, Samson Adula, said he had one more witness to present.
The case was adjourned to April 11 for continuation of trial.
The court had admitted as exhibits his three confessional statements.
The suspect had admitted raping and killing Miss Umoren in his confessional statements, to the anti-kidnapping unit of the State C1D, the homicide section of the police, and the State Security Service (SSS), Akwa Ibom State.
An SSS officer, Ama Okeke, in his evidence before the court in a previous proceeding said Mr Akpan had confessed that when he overpowered Miss Umoren, she begged him to use a condom if he must rape hr.
“The first accused person (Akpan) also told the investigation team that in the process of having sex with the deceased, he removed the condom and the deceased started struggling with him again. He said while he was still on top of the deceased, she carried an iron, and hit him on the forehead.
“He said that, in order not for the deceased to shout, he, Uduak-Abasi (Akpan), now collected a black cloth, stuffed (it) into her mouth, and tied her mouth. He said he then used a standby stabiliser and hit her on the abdomen. From that point, the first accused said the deceased had started bleeding profusely. He told us he became afraid, as if she had already died.
“The first accused also said he used the jeans-trouser of the deceased to strangle her completely,” the officer said.
Mr Akpan, in his evidence during Wednesday’s proceeding, named the chairman of Uruan Local Government Area, Iniobong Ekpenyong and Kufre Effiong as his cousins.
He said the two met him the day he came back from Calabar, Cross River State, shortly before his arrest by the police.
But both men, Messrs Ekpenyong (PW1) and Effiong (PW2), in their testimonies before the court, said the suspect admitted to them in the council chairman’s house that he killed Miss Umoren.
Mr Effiong told the court how he slapped Mr Akpan on the face and accused him of bringing shame to their family when he admitted to the crime.
Mr Akpan before now had pleaded guilty to the charges of murder and rape. He had also confessed to the crime during a press briefing by the police.
Mr Akpan allegedly raped and killed Miss Umoren in April last year on the outskirts of Uyo after he lured her with a fake job offer.
Her remains were buried in a shallow grave in Mr Akpan’s family house, where the crime took place.
The attorney general of Akwa Ibom State, Uko Sam, is leading the prosecution team.
The defence counsel, Mr Adula, is the Akwa Ibom State coordinator of the Legal Aid Council, a statutory body which provides free legal services to low-income Nigerians who cannot hire a lawyer.