Delta State Traditional Ruler Sentence To Death By Hanging

A Delta State High Court, sitting in Asaba, has sentenced the embattled Unuewvoro, traditional ruler of Ekpan community in Uvwie Kingdom, Newton Agbofodoh, to death by hanging for allegedly killing one Mr. John Mogidi. The community leader who was arrested on June 17, 2016, during a raid of his Ekpan home by security team comprising police and military operatives, had been standing trial for murder and attempted murder, including the killing of Mogidi, who was at the time a vice-chairman of Ekpan community youths.

In the judgment delivered on Thursday, the court found the accused guilty on four counts of conspiracy to commit murder, murder of one John Mogidi; conspiracy to commit attempted murder; and attempted murder of one Innocent Akemu, for which he was arraigned. The judge, in his ruling, sentenced Agbofodo to 14 years imprisonment on conspiracy to commit murder and death by hanging on count two.

It further ruled on count three and four that the former traditional leader be kept behind bars for seven years, and 21 years imprisonment on count four which is attempted murder. The deceased and the convict were at loggerheads over the leadership of the community youth group which later resulted in threats by the community head to kill Mogidi . Few days later after the threats, the deceased was reportedly waylaid and killed by assassins.

One of the prosecution witnesses, Akemu told the court that the convict had on May 16, 2016, led seven armed boys in two vehicles a Prado SUV and a Toyota Camry to intercept the motorcycle he and the deceased were riding on along NPA Expressway in Ekpan, where the deceased was allegedly murdered.

The witness said the boys, acting on the orders of the convict, forced Mogidi into the SUV but he resisted, adding that it was at that one of the boys, identified only as Darlington, fired shots at Mogidi at close range and he died instantly. The convict, in his statement, to the police denied his involvement in the killing but was unable to tell the police where he was at the time of the incident.

During the trial, he claimed he was at home but was unable to call any witness in his defence to convince the court of his alibi. Agbofodo denied calling the deceased on the telephone to threaten him, but the call log of the deceased, obtained from his network provider and tendered in court as exhibit, showed that he was not a witness of truth.

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