31 year old man to die by hanging for kidnapping

The Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Ikot Ekpene, has sentenced a 31-year-old year man to death for kidnapping a 4-year-old boy, who until now has not been found.

Justice Augustine Odokwo on Thursday sentenced Ekerete Michael Ukpong, a native of Udok Atai in Ikono local government council in Akwa Ibom State to death by hanging.

In a one-hour judgment, Justice Odokwo found Ekerete Ukpong guilty of kidnapping, punishable by death, under section one of the Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law, 2009.

The Judge held that the prosecuting counsel has notified the court that the victim, a 4-year-old Success Amos Kalu, native of Ohafia in Abia State, was kidnapped on the 25th September 2015, at Ibiakpan Akananwan, Ikot Ekpene, is yet to be found.

He said kidnapping is prevalent in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, and Nigeria at large, hence, all hands must be on deck to rid the society of the menace, which he said, “has assumed a hydra-headed dimension.”

The Court held that “the convict is taking the punishment alone although records show that he acted in connivance with others, who are now at large.”

Justice Odokwo said “the judgment should send a clear signal to all and sundry that the full weight of the law will descend on kidnappers” in the State.

“I have gone through Section 1 (2) of Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law 2009, the section that provides for punishment for the offense of kidnapping. That section of the law provides for only one punishment. I will in this circumstance, follow the law and the law only. The sentence of this Court against the convict is death.” Justice Odokwo pronounced.

The Court held that “His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State will determine the means and place of the execution within the State.”

Before the sentence, Justice Odokwo had changed to a black cap, with the convict weeping uncontrollably in the courtroom before he was whisked away by officials of the Nigeria Correctional Centre, Ikot Ekpene.

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