Court Sentences Cynthia Osokogu’s Murderers To Death

Cynthia OsokoguThe Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere, Lagos Island has convicted and sentenced two men to death by hanging for the murder of late Cynthia Osokogu.

Trial judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, held that the prosecution proved the case against them beyond reasonable doubt.

Justice Akinlade sentenced Okwumo Nwabufo and Olisaeloka Ezike to death after finding them guilty of murdering Cynthia Osokogu by chaining her hands and legs, as well as choking and gagging her.

The act was said to have led to asphyxia, the absence of oxygen supply to the body of the victim which the court identified as the cause of her death.

The late Cynthia Osokogu, a postgraduate student of Nassarawa State University, was murdered on July 22, 2012 at a hotel in Festac Town by the men who lured her to Lagos after she met them through a social media platform.

Justice Akinlade had fixed March 23 to deliver judgment in the trial of four men charged with her murder, after counsel to the Lagos State Government and those who represented the defendants adopted their final written addresses.

In arriving at the judgment on Thursday, the judge held that the prosecution had successfully proven against the two defendants the offences of conspiracy to kill, murder, conspiracy to steal and stealing.

She found the convicts guilty on the strength of the circumstantial evidence and exhibits presented against them by the prosecution, and also based on their confessional statements made to the Police.

The court, however, discharged and acquitted the third and fourth defendants on the ground that the prosecution had not proved its case against them.

Cynthia Osukogu’s Murder: Court Fixes March 23 For Judgment

Cynthia Osukogu's Murder: Court Fixes March 23 For JudgmentThe Lagos State High Court sitting in the Igbosere area of Lagos Island will on March 23 deliver judgment in the trial of four men charged with the gruesome murder of Cynthia Osukogu, a postgraduate student of Nassarawa State University.

Justice Olabisi Akinlade fixed the date on Thursday after counsel to the Lagos State government and those who represented the defendants adopted their final written addresses.

The late Cynthia Osokogu was murdered on July 22, 2012 at Cosmilla Hotel, Lake View Estate, Festac Town in Lagos by men she allegedly met and became friends with on the popular social media platform, Facebook.

Those accused of the crime are Okwumo Nwabufo aged 38; Ezike Nwabufo aged 28; Orji Osita, 37; and Ezike Nonso, 29.

They were all arraigned before the court on a six-count charge of conspiracy, murder, stealing, reckless negligence and possession of stolen goods, charges brought against them by the Lagos State government.

The offences are said to contravene sections 221, 249, 285 and 327 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

One of the defence counsel, Victor Opara urged the court to dismiss the charges against the defendants because the state had failed to link them to the crime.

The lawyer also argued that it is the law that in any situation where the prosecution fails to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, the court must rule in favour of the defendants.

However, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Idowu Alakija urged the court to convict the defendants on the strength of the evidence the state has placed before it.

Cynthia Osokogu Murder: Judge Accuses Defence Counsel Of Stalling Trial

Cynthia OsokoguThe Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, Lagos Island has accused the defence counsel of stalling the trial of the four men charged with the murder of Cynthia Osokogu.

Presiding judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, specifically noted the attitude of the second defence counsel, Mr Micheal Ajayi, from the chambers of Mike Igbokwe, S.A.N, who failed to show up in court on Friday despite sending a letter to the court for a stand down.

This is the second time that the second defence counsel has stalled the proceedings of the trial of the late Cynthia who was killed in Lagos in 2012 by men she met and allegedly became friends with on a popular social media platform, Facebook.

The prosecution closed its case in proof of the crime on September 19, 2014 for the defence to open its case.

But a string of absence of the defence counsel has continued to stall the proceedings.

The Attorney-General of Lagos, Mr Ade Ipaye, who is prosecuting the suspected murderers of the late Cynthia, had on Monday, May 5, showed the court some obscene pictures of the late Cynthia Osokogu from a laptop.

One of the pictures presented showed the late Cynthia cello-taped on the mouth with her international passport placed on her chest and another was a close-up shot of her private part.

Four men, Okwumo Nwabufo, 34; Olisaeloka Ezike, 24; Orji Osita, 33; and Ezike Nonso, 25, are standing trial for conspiracy and the murder of the late Cynthia Osokogu, a 25-year old postgraduate student from the Nassarawa State University.

Absence Of Witness Stalls Subsidy Protest Murder Trial

A Lagos High Court has threatened to close the case of the prosecution over its failure to produce its witnesses in the murder trial which arose from the protests against fuel subsidy removal in January 2012.

A Divisional Police Officer with Pen Cinema Police Division, Lagos, Segun Fabunmi, who has now been dismissed from the Police, is standing trial before the court for allegedly shooting Adedamola Daramola to death at the Yaya-Abatan, Agege area during the protest.

Trial Judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade frowned at the inability of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, to produce its witnesses in court on Monday, even though the defendant, who was on bail, was present in court with his lawyer, Mr. George Oguntade.

The DPP, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan who appeared for the prosecution had told the court that the investigative police officer in the case, who was the witness, scheduled to testify today was appearing before a magistrate’s court in Ikeja.

She urged the court to stand down the matter till 12pm to enable the IPO to appear in court. This angered Justice Akinlade who described the request as an insult to the court.

After turning down the prosecution’s request to stand down the matter, the court threatened to close the prosecution’s case if it failed to produce more than one witness in court at the next hearing date.

Justice Akinlade has adjourned further proceedings till February 18.

Cynthia Osokogu Murder Trial Stalled By Defence Counsel

The Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere on Lagos Island could not make much progress on Monday, in the case of the late Cynthia Osokogu, as the two defence counsel failed to file their written addresses.

The late Cynthia Osokogu, a 25-year old postgraduate student of the Nassarawa State University was allegedly murdered on July 22, 2012, in Lagos by men she met and became friends with on a social media site, Facebook.

Two men, 33 year old Okwumo Nwabufo and 23 year old Olisaeloka Ezike are already standing trial for her murder. They were charged alongside 33year old Orji Osita and 25year old Ezike Nonso, who allegedly aided in the commission of the crime.

The offences are contrary to Sections 221, 249, 285 and 327 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The first two defendants at the last sitting of the court had, however, told Trial Judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, that the Police obtained confessional statements of the crime from them, “under duress”. The case then went into a “trial within trial” to determine the voluntariness of the confessional statements.

After the defence closed its case on November 20, 2013, Justice Akinlade ordered the lawyers to the defendants to file their written addresses before the Christmas vacation to enable her listen to the adoption of the addresses on Monday, January 13, 2014, and possibly give a ruling.

Channels Television Judiciary Correspondent, Shola Soyele, reported that the Judge was angry that despite the length of time, the two defence counsel failed to act on the directions of the court.

She accused them of deliberately wasting the time of the court, and made another order for the written addresses to be filed and served on the prosecution within the next ten days, while the prosecution, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, was given two weeks to file his response.

Further hearing in the case was then adjourned to February 27 for the adoption of written addresses.

Cynthia Osukogu: I Made My Confession Under Duress- Suspect

One of the suspected killers of Miss Cynthia Osukogu, Okwumo Nwabufo today (Wednesday) revealed before a Lagos High Court how he was tortured to admit being the murderer of the deceased.

At the resumed hearing, Nwabufo who was led in evidence by his lawyer, Victor Okpara stated in a trial to determine how their (defendants) confessional statements were obtained during investigation.

The defendants, Okwumo Nwabufo 34; Olisaeloka Ezike, 24; Orji Osita, 33; and Ezike Nonso, 25, were charged to court by the Lagos State for the murder of Cynthia.

In his evidence, Nwabufo told the trial judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade that he had been dating Cynthia for over one year before her death.

According to him, he and Cynthia had met more than five times before she was murdered.

However, Nwabufo insisted that the alleged confessional statement made by him was made under duress stressing that he was tortured by the police.

He said “On the day I was arrested, up to 20 policemen broke into my apartment and asked for my name after which they called me a murderer and started beating me. I was later blindfolded while I was putting on only pant and taken to FESTAC police station for interrogation’’.

According to Nwabufo, he asked the police to allow him contact his lawyer or relatives which they refused.

He said “when we got to the police station, I was taken to the Area Commander, Mr Dan Okoro’s office who showed me a lady’s picture and asked if I knew her. I said yes, she is my friend and he immediately called me a murderer while he used plyer to pinch my left eye.

“I was then taken to a room where I was chained and tortured to accept whatever they (the police) told us concerning the murder. I was chained and hung upside-down, like a roasted chicken’’,” he added.

Nwabufo further explained that it was during this torture that the police brought out a suspect and shot him on the leg to show that they would shoot us if we don’t comply.

“One of the policemen released tear-gas into my left eye and I have not been able to see with it since then,” he said.

Nwabufo further told the court that it was the torture that led to the statement which was being dictated to him at different times.

The suspects are alleged to have chained and strangled 25-year-old Osokogu to death at Cosmilla Hotel, FESTAC Town, Lagos, on July 22, 2012.

Judge’s Absence Stall Cynthia Osokogu Murder Trial

The trial of the alleged murderers of late Cynthia Osokogu was stalled today owing to the absence of the trial judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade.

The court registrar told lawyers who showed up in court for the case that Justice Akinlade was “indisposed.” The lawyers and the registrar then agreed on the 20th September as the next adjourned date for the continuation of the case.

24 year old Cynthia Osokogu was allegedly drugged and murdered in a hotel room in the Amuwo Odofin area of Festac Town in Lagos in July 2012.

Two men, Okwumo Nwabufor and Olisaeloka Ezike, are standing trial for felony, conspiracy to commit murder and the murder of the late Cynthia Osokogu.

A 3rd man, Osita Orji, a Pharmacist who sold the Rophynol drug used on the late Cynthia to the alleged murderers  is standing trial along with the other two for his reckless and negligent act; while a 4th man, Nonso Ezike, who pawned her Blackberry phone, is charged with possession of stolen property.

Seven witnesses have so far testified on behalf of the prosecution in the matter. Today’s proceedings was however for a trial-within-trial’ to determine the voluntariness of a confessional statement made by the first and second defendants, Nwabufor and Olisaeloka.

Counsel to the first defendant Victor Opara, told journalists after the court adjourned that the police obtained the statements from the defendants under duress.

At the next sitting of the court, the counsel in the matter are expected to argue on whether the statements were voluntarily made or made under duress.

The court would then be saddled with ruling on whether to admit the statement and what evidence to attach to it, and then  the main trial would continue with the prosecution calling its remaining witnesses to establish the guilt of the accused persons.

A post-mortem examination result tendered by one of the prosecution witnesses earlier on in the trial indicates that the cause of the late Cynthia’s death was asphyxia – absence of Oxygen supply to the body.

Cynthia Osokogwu Was Strangled To Death- Pathologist

Consultant Pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa, on Friday told a Lagos High Court in Ikeja that the late Cynthia Osokogu was strangulated by her killers.

Obafunwa was testifying at the resumed trial of four men allegedly involved in the death of the 25-year-old lady who was murdered at Cosmilla Hotel, Lakeview Estate, Festac Town, Lagos on July 22, 2012.

The defendants; Okwumo Nwabufo , Olisaeloka Ezike , Orji Osita and Ezike Nonso were charged to court by the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Obafunwa, who is the Chief Medical Examiner of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, told the court presided over by Justice Olabisi Akinlade that he conducted autopsy on Osokogu’s body.

The pathologist, led in evidence by the Lagos State Attorney General, Mr Ade Ipaye, said their findings revealed that the deceased was gagged and choked by her killers.

“From our findings, the deceased was asphyxiated which means absence of oxygen supply to the body.

“That was the immediate cause of death. It was as a result of the blockage of her upper respiratory airways.

“This blockage was caused by the deceased being gagged and choked,” Obafunwa said.

He told the court that there were multiple bruises and abrasions in Osokogu’s body, adding that what appears to be bite marks were on the front of her two thighs.

Obafunwa also insisted that the injuries on the body of the deceased could not have been self-inflicted.

Meanwhile the court also admitted as exhibits, 15 photographs of the crime scene taken by one, Mr Lucky Enamelo, a professional photographer.

The judge dismissed the objections of the defence counsel and admitted the photographs as Exhibit P1 to PO.

Ipaye also called the manager of Cosmilla Hotel, Mr Victor Ugweke to testify before the court.

Ugweke said he was informed that a body was in Room C1 of the hotel by the receptionist after she opened the room with a master key he had given her.

He said he went to the FESTAC Police Station to report the incident, adding that the police later came and took the body to the Ikeja General Hospital.

The matter was adjourned till May 24 for continuation of trial.

Judge’s Absence Stalls Cynthia Osokogu’s Murder Trial

The absence of the trial judge in the murder case of the late Cynthia Osokogu on Friday stalled proceedings.

No reason was given for the absence of Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

A court official merely stated that she was “indisposed.”

The matter was consequently adjourned till the 12th of April for continuation of trial.

Ms. Osokogu, 24, was allegedly drugged and murdered inside a hotel room in Festac Town in Lagos by men she met and became friends with on the social media site Facebook last July.

Okwumo Nwabufor and Olisaeloka Ezike; the principal suspects had been charged with conspiracy to commit felony and murder of the deceased.

The other suspects; Osita Orji, the pharmacist who sold the Rophynol drugs to the alleged murderers and Nonso Ezike who sold the deceased’s Blackberry phone were charged with reckless, negligent act and possession of stolen property respectively.

All the suspects were in court today, including Mr. Orji who had been out on bail after the judge ruled in his favour last month.

Nonso, Olisaeloka’s younger brother, who had also been granted bail, but under stricter terms is still in prison custody as he is yet to meet the conditions.

After the new trial date was confirmed, Mr. Orji left the court with a friend, while the other suspects waited for the prison wardens to take them back to the Black Maria.

The murder trial has seen the prosecution call two witnesses, both of them former employees at the hotel where Ms. Osokogu died.

Chris Obiaka, counsel to Mr. Orji said that the trial has been enjoying an accelerated trial, as promised by the judge.

“The important thing is not to rush proceedings. It is to ensure that justice is done and done accordingly,” Mr. Obiaka said.

Police officer gets death sentence for killing 3 yr old girl

Three years after he callously killed a three year old girl Kausarat Muritala in cold blood in Lagos, Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court in Ikeja yesterday sentenced ex-police corporal, Ikechukwu Nwabueze to death by hanging.

Justice Akinlade handed down the verdict after reviewing the fact of the case, according to her, the weight of evidence before the court showed that Nwabueze had the intention to kill.

It will be recalled that Nwabueze was alleged to have in April 2009 shot at a car in which the parents, the three-year old Kausarat, and her siblings were commuting at Oba Nle Aro Bus Stop, Alapere, Ketu.

The condemned man and his colleagues took to their heels when they discovered that the there was a fatality.

However, they were later arrested, while Nwabueze who was later dismissed from the Police Force, was said to have confessed during investigation that he shot dead the deceased little girl.

The convict, however, recanted during trial, maintaining that he was coerced to make the confessional statement by the police officer who investigated the case.

The condemned man also claimed that he was not the only one that fired shots into the air and that other members of his team also did same.

The court pointed out some inconsistencies in the testimony of Nwabueze while also holding that a recanted confessional statement does not necessarily cancel its relevance.

“It is trite law that the confessional statement of a defendant is relevant regardless of the fact that it is recanted. It is also trite that a person can be convicted on the basis of the confessional statement.

“It is my opinion that the evidence of P1 is consistent with the testimonies of PW 2 and PW 3.”

The judge further held that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were not discredited during cross-examination unlike that of the defence.

According to her “By his training as a police officer he (Nwabueze) cannot claim ignorance of the probable consequences of shooting at the vehicle.

“I therefore hold that the defendant had intention to kill or cause bodily harm to the occupants of the car. I find the defendant guilty as charged.”

After court reached it decision, counsel to the defendant, A.O. Omodele made an allocutus (plea for mercy) for the convict, urging the judge to temper justice with mercy on the grounds that he was at his duty post when the offence was committed and that he was a first offender. He also said that he was a young man who was yet to be married and had a lot to contribute to the nation.

But, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan opposed Omodele’s plea.

She said: “We do not have enough records of the defendant. Notwithstanding, the menace of police in releasing bullets recklessly on innocent citizens should be discouraged.

While passing out her sentence the court held that it is not convinced of any reason why it should show some leniency.

She therefore pronounced: “The sentence of the court upon you is that that you be hung on the neck until you are dead. And may God have mercy on your soul.”