THERE is tension in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital as the State High Court sitting in Uyo delivers judgement in the alleged rape, and murder of jobseeker, Iniubong Umoren, Thursday, today, August 4, 2022.
Many residents and citizens of Akwa Ibom State could not wait to know the judgement that would be delivered in the matter.
Unlike many other similar murder cases in the state in recent times in the state, Umoren’s case from onset attracted a lot of attention of Nigerians especially on the social media.
Late Iniubong Umoren, a graduate of Philosophy, University of Uyo, (UNIUYO)
was allegedly raped, murdered and buried in a shallow grave by a suspected serial rapist and killer, Uduak-Abasi Akpan, in April 2021.
Uduak-Abasi Akpan had reportedly lured his victim, who was 26years old before her demise, to his family residence at Nung Ikono Obio village in Uruan local government area with a job offer where he had allegedly raped, murdered, and buried her in a shallow grave within the premises.
The body was later exhumed from the shallow grave by the Police team, who were guided by the prime suspect.
Recall that remains of late Iniubong Umoren was interred in her hometown at Nung Ita Ikot Essien of Oruk Anam local government area of Akwa Ibom State, on May 14, 2021, after a postmortem carried out by the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH).
Vanguard had reported that the deceased, an orphan and the last child of family of four, was raised by one Mrs. Ime Ekpo, following the demise of her biological mother when She was only two years old.
Uduak-Abasi Akpan, his father Mr. Frank Akpan, and sister Anwan-Bassey, Akpan,
were charged on a four count-charge brought against them by Akwa Ibom state government.
The trio have been remanded in the Correctional centre Uyo, as the Court had denied their bail application.
Uduak-Abasi Akpan was arraigned on two count charge of rape and murder, while both his father (second defendant) Frank Akpan, and sister Anwan-Bassey Akpan(third defendant) were charged for accessory after-the-fact to murder respectively.
Uduak-Abasi and his father were first arraigned before the State High Court4 presided over by Justice Bennett Illaumo in July 2021, where he had pleaded guilty to murder charge, but not guilty to charge of rape.
The murder case was later transferred to State High court 9 presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang.
Following the conclusion of trial, and submission of final written addresses by the two defense Counsel’s and the prosecution counsel on Tuesday June, 21, 2022, the court
had adjourned till August 4, 2022 for judgement.
Recall that Counsel to the first defendant and State Coordinator, Akwa Ibom State Legal Aid Council Mr. Samson Adula, and Counsel to the second and third defendants, Mr. Abasiodiong Ekpenyong had while adopting their addresses prayed the court to discharge and acquit the defendants.
Adula had for the first defendant prayed, “My Lord, this is a case where the offences which the defendant was alleged to have committed was not witnessed by anybody”,
For the second and third defendants, the defense counsel had also prayed, “I pray the Court to discharge and acquit the second and third defendants. My Lord this is a case where the second and third defendants are charged for offence of being accessory after the fact to murder”
But the Prosecuting counsel Friday Ikim had in his submission insisted that both defendants encouraged and assisted the first defendant to escape to Calabar, Cross River State
Ikim had even recalled that Mr. Frank Akpan had told the court that he had sent a text message to his daughter in Calabar which read, “He said he is using flying boat. It is better to escape than to die”.
He had therefore urged the Court to find the three defendants guilty as charged, adding that “the Prosecution had proven its 4-count charge against the defendants beyond reasonable doubt.
“And that being so, in the interest of justice demand this honourable Court to hold that the defendants should accordingly be convicted and sentenced respectively according to Law.”