Akwa Ibom State High Court has sentenced a monarch,Chief Essien Matthew Odiong, to death by hanging for murdering a motorcyclist, Udoma Udo Ubom.
The 82-year-old Odiong is the village head of Efen Ibom, Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The monarch, who is married to 12 wives and has 60 children, was standing trial on four counts of conspiracy, directing unlawful trial by ordeal, stealing of motorcycle and murder of the owner.
Delivering judgement on Friday, Justice Edem Akpan, said the court found the monarch guilty of murder of the deceased by injecting some chemical substance into his body, leading to his death on April 26, 2017.
According to the judgement, the late Ubom was accused by his brothers of being a wizard and was reported to the village head, who brought him before the Council, where the deceased was administered an oath to swear and prove his innocence.
“Having sensed the consequences of his criminal activity, the monarch escaped from the village since 2017 and returned in 2019, when he was arrested by the Police.
“The accused had voluntarily admitted that he sat at Efen Clan Council with five other village heads and members of the Clan Council to try the deceased on the allegation of witchcraft, and the law has relieved the prosecution of the burden to prove the offence of conspiracy.
“The admission of the process of trial and the decision of Efen Clan Council to administer oath on the deceased, has logically brought to the conclusion that a plastic bath on the head of the late Udoma Akpan Udo Ubom and injecting some chemical susbtance through a syringe into his buttocks by the village head, caused the death of the deceased,” the judge said.
Subsequently, the judge sentenced Odiong to death by hanging for murder, seven years imprisonment with hard labour for directing unlawful trial by ordeal and three years imprisonment for conspiracy with others now at large.
However, before the sentence was delivered, the convicted village head, popularly known as ‘Kill and Bury’ pleaded for leniency, asking the Court to temper justice with mercy.