Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo has sentenced a 23-year-old man, Menim Jolly Udoaya to death for killing his kinsman, Clement Ben, in Use Ikot Amama, Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, after a misunderstanding between his uncle, Friday Udoaya and the village secretary during a village council meeting.
The court, presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang delivered the judgment in a charge between the State against Friday Ekereke Udoaya, (first accused) Kini Jolly Udoaya, (second accused), Menim Jolly Udoaya (third accused), and Saviour Maurice Udom (fourth accused) persons.
The court found the third accused person, Menim Jolly Udoaya guilty of killing Clement Ben with matchet at Use Ikot Amama Junction on 4th day of January, 2018.
The trial Judge held that “even though the prosecution has marshaled evidence to link the first accused person, Friday Ekereke Udoaya, the second accused, Kini Jolly Udoaya and the fourth accused, Saviour Maurice Udom to the murder, the absence of persuasive and reliable evidence of their direct participation in the act, casts doubts on the claim of the prosecution on their complicity.”
“One clear consensus in the different narratives of what resulted in the death of the deceased appears to be that, the actual person who wielded the matchete on the deceased was a certain Ini Friday Udoaya who is not among those that have so far been brought to trial.”
“The other person that enjoys the notoriety of actively participating in the assault that resulted in the death, appears to be Menim Jolly Udoaya, the third accused person.”
He also held that aside from the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, which appeared to incriminate all the accused persons and others, almost every eyewitness to the incident stated that the deceased was matcheted by one Ini Friday Udoaya who is not being charged to court.
The court, therefore argued that “the third accused person, Menim Jolly Udoaya, who is said to have used a piece of wood on the deceased, is also linked as a participant in the unholy display of youthful exuberance that cut short the life of the deceased.
It added that there was no complicity whatsoever on the part of the fourth accused, Saviour Maurice Udom in any of the counts, and, therefore, discharged and acquitted him of the allegations of conspiracy to murder and murder having been in confinement since January, 2018.
The four accused persons were being tried on a seven-count of conspiracy to commit a felony, malicious damage to property, stealing, grievous harm, conspiracy to murder and murder.
In count one, conspiracy to commit a felony, the court sentenced Menim Jolly Udoaya and his brothers, Friday Ekereke Udoaya and Kini Jolly Udoaya to two years in prison, while in count two bordering on malicious damage to property, it sentenced them to two years in prison.
Delivering judgement on count four, grievous harm, Court sentenced the three to seven years in prison, while in conspiracy to murder, the Court sentenced Menim Jolly Udoaya to seven years in prison and count six, conspiracy to murder, he bagged fourteen years imprisonment.
The Court ordered that Menim Jolly Udoaya is to die by hanging or by lethal injection.