Iniubong Umoren: Tight Security As Trial Of Suspected Killer Continues In Court

A file photo of late Iniobong Umoren. Photo: [email protected]

 

The trial of the suspected killer of Miss Iniubong Umoren, a graduate job seeker in Akwa Ibom State continued on Wednesday amidst heavy security.

On arriving at the venue of the trial located along Wellington Bassey Way in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital, Channels Television observed as stern-looking security operatives barred journalists from taking pictures or visuals of the accused.

Twenty-one-year-old Uduak-Abasi Frank Akpan is being prosecuted on two counts bordering on rape and murder of the victim which is punishable under Section 326 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, Vol 2, Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000.

He is being accused of killing Umoren on April 29 at Nung Ikono Obio village in the Uruan Local Government Area of the state.

He is also charged for rape under Section 367 of the Criminal Code, CAP 38, Vol 2, and Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000.

Meanwhile, his father, Frank Akpan has also been accused of assisting him to escape after murdering his victim.

The suspect had earlier pleaded guilty for murder but pleaded not guilty for rape.

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During Wednesday’s trial, the first witness, who is also the victim’s sister, Ifiok Umoren, was called as the principal complainant.

After testifying, the prosecution requested an adjournment to ensure that necessary logistics that will enhance a speedy prosecution are put in place.

Accordingly, the presiding judge, Justice Bennett Ita Umoh adjourned the hearing to November and December after the commencement of the new legal year.

The dates for the presentation of evidence and accelerated hearing are November 2, 4, 10 and December 1, 2, 13, 14 and 15.

Counsel to the 1st accused, who is also the State Coordinator of Legal Aid Council, Akwa Ibom, Barrister Dula Samson, briefed journalists after the proceedings.

“We opened the case of the first accused today, the first witness who is the sister of the murdered Iniubong testified in part,” he said.

“She has not concluded her examination in chief. The case will continue after the vacation. I am Confident that Justice will be served speedily.”

Counsel to the family, Barr Utibe Nwoko, also briefed journalists.

He said, “Pre-trial has been concluded and real trial commenced by calling the first witness who is the principal complainant. She has testified to a point where the prosecution desired that the case be adjourned so that some necessary logistics that will enhance speedy prosecution be put in place.

“The case was adjourned to dates in Nov after the commencement of the new legal year. The dates are: 2,4,10, November 1,2,13,14,15 days of December for the presentation of evidence so that accelerated hearing can commence.”

On his part, Counsel to the 2nd accused person, Barr Ems Ekomson, implored all to avoid making negative public statements that could derail the course of justice in the case.

Alleged Molestation: Court Grants Bail To Deeper Life High School Principal, Six Others

 

The Magistrate’s Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State capital has granted the Principal of Deeper Life High School Uyo and six others bail in the sum of N500,000 each.

Also, two minors who were involved in the case of alleged sexual abuse and molestation of an eleven-year-old student of the school were released to their parents.

The school’s principal, Mrs. Ndidi Solomon, and others including Joseph Nseabasi, Akpan Johnson, Egor Wilson, Joseph Ikenna were arraigned on Thursday at the Magistrate’s Court in connection with the case.

READ ALSO: How I Was Shot, Got My Leg Amputated, Petitioner Tells Judicial Panel

When the case was read, counsel to the accused applied for bail for them, noting that the alleged offence is bailable.

The Magistrate in charge of the Court then granted all the accused person bail in the sum of N500,000 each while the two minors among them were released to their parents.

The case was then adjourned to 20th January 2021 for an accelerated hearing.

Speaking to Channels Television at the court premises, counsel to the petitioner, David Okokon said he is committed to ensuring that justice is served.

Counsel to the accused persons, however, declined comments on the case.

The presiding Magistrate warned all parties involved in the case to avoid unguarded media comments that could negatively affect the court process.

The accused persons are facing four charges bordering on sexual molestation, maltreatment, starvation, and negligence.

Channels Television correspondent present at the proceedings was prevented from taking visuals of the accused persons.

Alleged Molestation: Police Commence Investigation Into Case Involving Deeper Life School Pupil

The crest of the Nigeria Police Force crest is on a police officer in Abuja on October 3rd, 2020 PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

The police in Akwa Ibom State has commenced an investigation into the case of alleged sexual molestation and maltreatment of a JSS1 student of Deeper Life High School, Idoro, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

According to a statement signed on Tuesday by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Odiko MacDon, the investigation follows a petition received by Mrs Deborah Archibong, mother of the victim.

READ ALSO: Molestation: We Will Not Cover Up Any Immoral Act – Deeper Life High School

The police spokesperson added that the Commissioner of Police, Amiengheme Andrew, has ordered an investigation into the matter and the investigation has commenced immediately.

 

See the full statement by the police below:

The Akwa Ibom State Police Command is in receipt of a petition by one Mrs Deborah Archibong, aged 41yrs, mother of one Don-Davis Iniobong Archibong ‘m’, aged 11yrs, a student of Deeper Life High School, Idoro Road, Uyo, wherein she alleged that her son, Master Don-Davis Iniobong was inhumanly treated, sexually molested and suffered starvation, against one Mrs Ndidi Solomon, aged 45yrs and three (3) others.

The Commissioner of Police, Amiengheme Andrew, has ordered a discreet investigation into the matter and the said investigation has commenced immediately.

The CP, while enjoining all parties involved to exercise restraint pending the outcome of the investigation, has assured the good people of Akwa Ibom State that no stone will be left unturned in unraveling the truth and that the outcome of the investigation will be made known to the general public.

INEC To Arraign Two University Dons For Electoral Offences

A section of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in Abuja was gutted by fire on April 17, 2020.
A file photo of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom State is set to arraign two university lecturers for their alleged involvement in electoral offences during the 2019 elections in the state.

The lecturers who were engaged as Collation and Returning Officers during the 2019 General elections were reported to have manipulated and falsified election results to produce outcomes contrary to the will of the people as expressed through the ballot.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini disclosed this to journalists in the state, on Tuesday.

Mr Igini said, following a formal request by the commission, the authorities of the affected institutions where the lecturers are employed released them to appear before an Investigative Panel set up by INEC Headquarters on the 12th and 26th Of August, 2020.

The panel subsequently established a prima facie documentary evidence of deliberate criminal manipulation of election results against the Collation and Returning Officers.

The REC also disclosed that three staff of the ICT Unit of the commission in the state who were found to have compromised the commission’s standard had been sacked. This, he explained was in line with the commission’s statutory powers to appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over its staff.

The affected staff had earlier also appeared before the Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee (APDC) of the commission and we’re found culpable of acts of gross misconduct.

The REC expressed concern over the involvement of lecturers noting that the development is a reflection of the degeneration of the age-long values associated with the academic community.

It is not clear when the lecturers will be arraigned but the REC promised to keep the media informed.

Two Recovered COVID-19 Patients Discharged In Akwa-Ibom

File photo of Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel.

 

The Akwa Ibom State Government on Saturday announced that two patients have been discharged in the state following treatment and recovery from Coronavirus.

The State Incident Manager and Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong said they were discharged after testing negative to the virus.

According to Ukpong, this brings to 16, the total number of those treated and discharged since the first set of COVID-19 cases were recorded in the state on April 1, 2020.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Lockdown: April Salary Will Come On-Time, Says Akwa-Ibom Govt

Ukpong explained that Governor Udom Emmanuel has expended so much in healthcare and this, according to him, accounts for the 100% recovery rate experienced in the state.

“Yesterday, you saw the magnificent 300 – bed facility that the Governor put up at Ituk Mbang. It is going to compliment the services provided at Ikot Ekpene and the one at the Ibom Specialist Hospital,” he said.

He applauded the health management officials in the state for being responsive and promptly tracing contacts of cases recorded.

Akwa-Ibom State has so far recorded 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with two fatalities.

Akwa Ibom Govt Slashes Salaries Of Political Appointees By 20%

File photo of Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel

 

Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel has directed a 20% reduction in the salaries of all political office holders in the state.

According to a statement signed on Tuesday by the Secretary to the State government, Emmanuel Ekuwem, the decision is due to the prevailing economic realities of dwindling revenues, caused by the crash in the price of crude oil in the global market.

He said the governor was confronted with an urgent need to take a decision on either of two options.

READ ALSO: Udom Orders Immediate Shut Down Of All Livestock Markets In Akwa Ibom

The options according to Ekuwem include, “to continue to pay the current salaries for a while and end up being totally unable to pay same subsequently or spread the discomfort (20% cut) sustainably over a period of time pending the return of crude oil price to normalcy in the global market.”

Ekuwem added that, “it was by the same ancient principle of ‘necessity is the mother of invention,’ that led to the establishment of the Akwa Ibom State Post COVID-19 Economic Reconstruction Committee by the Governor, to recommend navigable routes out of this global economic morass for our State.”

He urged the affected political appointees to note that the salary reduction is temporary, promising that Akwa Ibom State Government will transparently resume full payment of salaries “when this dark cloud passes.”

Supreme Court Upholds Governor Masari, Udom’s Re-Election

 

The Apex Court has upheld the re-election of Aminu Masari of Katsina State and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom State.

In the case of Katsina State, Justice Iyang Okoro, held that the appellant, Senator Garba Lado of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Masari did not qualify to participate in the election.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Dismisses PDM’s Appeal Seeking Cancellation Of Ebonyi Election

Similarly, the Supreme Court sealed the re-election of Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Governor of Akwa-Ibom State.

In his ruling, Justice Datijp Muhammad held that the appeal by Mr Nsima Ekere of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lacked merit and is dismissed.

Akpabio Withdraws Application Seeking Review Of NASS Election At FCT High Court

APC Has Been Able To Manage Security Better Than PDP, Says Akpabio

 

Senator Godswill Akpabio has withdrawn his application from the FCT High Court, seeking a Judicial review of the National Assembly election in his senatorial district.

Mr Akpabio who confirmed this to Channels Television on Friday said the withdrawal was to avoid abuse of court processes.

The trial judge Justice valentine Ashi of the FCT High Court also confirmed the withdrawal.

Speaking further, he explained that the order of stay issued last Friday was not to stop the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) from carrying out its function but to enable an applicant to exercise his rights.

Read Also: Akpabio Vows To Challenge His Loss In Court

He also explained that he stayed action last week so that all parties in the suit can address the court on whether it had jurisdiction to entertain a post-election matter.

Akpabio who was a former Senate Minority Leader while he was with the PDP, had vowed to challenge the results of the election.

In an interview with Channels Television after the election, he said he strongly believed that there must have been something wrong with the collation of results.

His rival, Dr Chris Ekpenyong was declared winner of the senatorial seat after polling 118,215 votes to defeat him with 83,158 votes.

PDP Condemns Alleged Mass Arrest Of Members In Niger Delta

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it described as on-going mass arrest and detention of its leaders and members in Rivers, Delta and Akwa-Ibom states, ahead of the governorship and state Assembly elections on Saturday March 9, 2019.

In a statement on Wednesday, the party accused the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of “turning the South South zone into a war zone”.

It alleged that in Rivers State, leaders of the PDP were being hounded and forcefully picked up in a well-coordinated operation by military operatives.

The PDP called on Nigerians and the international community to note the development in the South South, adding that, “The tension in the Niger Delta has been dangerously stretched and there is a limit to what the people can stomach in the face of such aggressions”.

Speaking further, the party stressed that the Niger Delta region remained a stronghold for it and no amount of intimidation and assault by the APC would change that.

“Our party, therefore, demands the immediate release of every PDP member arrested by the military as well as instant stoppage of military aggression in the region ahead of the elections.”

The party warned that if the trend was not checked, it would destroy the relative peace in the region and destabilize the nation.

EFCC Re-arraigns Usoro As Court Orders Arrest Of Two Akwa Ibom Commissioners, Others

Alleged N1.4bn Money Laundering: Second Judge Disqualifies Self NBA President's Trial
NBA President, Mr Paul Usoro, addressing a press conference in Abuja in December 2018.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Friday re-arraigned the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro.

He was re-arraigned before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on 10 counts of conspiracy and conversion of an alleged N1.4bn to which he, again, pleaded not guilty.

Justice Aikawa is the third judge to be assigned the case.

The first judge, Justice Muslim Hassan was re-assigned from the case after the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati granted the request of the NBA President for a change of judge.

The second judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor disqualified himself from the case after citing “personal reasons”.

The case was, thereafter, re-assigned to Justice Aikawa.

In December 2018, the court admitted him to bail in the sum of N250 million with one surety in like sum after he pleaded not guilty.

At today’s hearing, Justice Aikawa allowed the NBA President to continue on the bail he was earlier granted by the first trial judge but the EFCC drew the attention of the court to the fact that Mr Usoro was yet to meet the conditions.

The judge had ordered that the surety must be either be a landed property owner within court’s jurisdiction or a civil servant whose position must not be lower than a director in the employment of the Federal or state government.

The defendant was also ordered to deposit his international passport with the court.

Justice Aikawa, thereafter, directed Mr Usoro to meet the bail conditions before March 15.

Meanwhile, the court also granted a bench warrant for the arrest of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Akwa Ibom State, Uwemedimo Nwoko, the Commissioner of Finance, Nsikan Nkan, the Accountant General, Mfon Udomah and a Cashier of the State Govt, Margaret Ukpe.

Justice Aikawa granted the bench warrant at the instance of the EFCC, who told the court that the defendants are at large and the warrant was necessary to ensure their presence in court at the next adjourned date of March 18 and 19.

The four government officials are charged alongside Mr Usoro on 10 counts of conspiracy and conversion of an alleged N1.4bn said to be property of the State Government.

General Elections: INEC To Release Final List Of Candidates Today

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will release the final list of candidates for the governorship, state Houses of Assembly and FCT area council elections today, January 31, 2019.

The chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said the list will be published in all the state offices of the commission across the country and on the commission’s website.

He said this at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Resident Electoral Commissioner in Bayelsa State, Monday Udo on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: General Elections: INEC Moves To Checkmate Violence Against Women, Persons With Disabilities

Professor Yakubu also noted that the commission is awaiting the confirmation and appointment of the nominee for Osun State.

He further stated that the commission has implemented 10 out of the 14 activities outlined in its scheduled programs of activities.

Fake Assistant Commissioner Of Police Arrested In Akwa Ibom

 

A man who has been parading himself as an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), has been arrested in Akwa Ibom State.

The State Commissioner of Police, Musa Kimo, confirmed this on Thursday while parading the suspect before journalists at the Police Headquarters in Uyo.

According to him, the suspect, Mr Kingsley Udoeyen, had defrauded and threatened unsuspecting members of the public before he was apprehended by the command.

Meanwhile, the suspect admitted to the crime.

Details later…