Three persons, Augustine Akpojivi, Dawel James and Collins Enye have been sentenced to death by hanging for kidnapping one Rufus Uzoma Allwell, a staff of Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company (WRPC). The convicts were found guilty as charged by the Delta State High Court, sitting in Asaba.
Besides, the death sentence, the convicts also bagged 20 years jail term each as they were also found guilty on three other counts of illegal possession of firearms, demanding with menace and stealing.
Akpojivi, a driver by occupation, Dawel also a driver and Enye, Okada rider and others still at large, had on August 10, 2013 at Aka Avenue, Effurun, conspired and kidnapped the victim while armed with guns and demanded for a ransom of N2 million before releasing him.
However, two of the accused persons, Samuel Okoloda and Precious Ochuko escaped the death sentence as they were discharged and acquitted by the court for lack of sufficient evidence linking them to the crime .
Dawel who was the driver to the victim masterminded the kidnap of his boss and received part of the N2 million ransom paid by the elder brother of the victim.
While hailing the judgment, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor, expressed optimism that the judgment will send a strong signal to criminally minded persons in the state that it was no longer business as usual.
He said the State Government will continue to protect and uphold the laws of the state and create an enabling environment for investors and for the people to live together freely and harmoniously.
Mr. Mrakpor, also commended the exceptional courage displayed by witnesses in the matter who came out willingly without pressure to give evidence during trial and called on others to emulate the patriotic spirit put forward by the Prosecution Witnesses (PW).
He maintained that the verdict was for the well being, safety and good of the society, and enjoined the people of the state to be law abiding and join hands with the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration in moving the state forward.