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.

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.

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.

Court Processes Stall Cynthia Osokogu’s Case

The arraignment of four suspected killers of Cynthia Osokogu, who was allegedly killed by friends she met on popular social networking site, Facebook was on Wednesday stalled because of objections raised by counsel to the defendants.

The six count charge of murder, stealing, possession of stolen property and conspiracy brought against the defendants at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja could not proceed as lawyers to the defendants told the court that they had not been properly served with the processes of the matter.

The suspects are Okwumo Nwabufo, Ezike Olisaeloka, Orji Osita and Ezike Nonso.

The prosecution team led by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Lagos state, Mr Ade Ipaye admitted to the mix up in serving the processes to one of the defence counsel but promised to immediately sort out the issue.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General urged the court to grant a speedy trial as he reacted to the submission of the counsel to the second defendant, Mr Olukayode Dada who appealed that the trial should be postponed and his client granted bail to enable him continue his education at the Anambra state university.

The lawyer also argued that the case has received so much publicity and the position already taken by the press will not guarantee fair hearing for his client as press reports and public opinion would prejudice his trial.

In her response, presiding Judge; Justice Olabisi Akinlade said that murder is a serious offence and that the court is empowered to ensure ‘fair hearing in public within a reasonable time’.

She subsequently adjourned to Friday the 8 February for trial.

Cynthia Osokogu’s murder: Pharmacists are released unconditionally

Two out of the four persons charged for the murder of Cynthia Osokogu have been released unconditionally by a Lagos High Court.

The two men, Maduakor Chukwunonso and Orji Osita who are pharmacists of Oxpharm Pharmacy, were accused of selling Rohpynol Flunitrazepam-a sedative without proper prescription and were eventually charged with murder and felony.

Speaking to Channels TV after their release, counsel to the pharmacists, Uchenna Nwoye said the pharmacists were released based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution.

According to Mr Nwoye, the presiding Judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High court, had on the 20th of November ruled that “there was no evidence where the pharmacists had an agreement with the first and second defendants to kill the late Ms Osokogu.”

He further ruled that the pharmacists have no case to answer and decided ordered that the pharmacists should be discharged.

Counsel to the two pharmacists had proceeded to the High Court following the delay of the Magistrate Court led by Magistrate Aka-Bashorun to grant the prayer of the defendants following the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution.

The duo were earlier charged with the other defendants for unlawfully killing Cynthia Osokogu by administering her with an obnoxious substance known as Rohpynol Flunitrazepam tablets which was used to sedate her before her rape and murder.

Officials of the Pharmaceuticals Society of Nigeria, however shield the discharged Pharmacists from talking to our correspondent.

Cynthia Osokogwu: Police file fresh charges against suspected killers, search for taxi driver

Fresh charges have been filed against the seven suspects implicated in the murder of 25 year old, Cynthia Osokogu.

Ms Osokogu, a post graduate student of the Nasarrawa State University, was allegedly killed after she was drugged and raped at an hotel in Lagos on the 22nd of July, 2012.

The police had initially arrested and charged four men in connection with the crime before subsequently charging another three.

At the resumed hearing of the matter before a Yaba Magistrate Court sitting in Ebute Metta, Lagos, police prosecutor, Chukwu Agwu withdrew the  three different charge sheets filed against all the suspects and substituted them with a consolidated eleven count charge against all seven defendants.

In the consolidated charge, Okwuomo Nwabufo, Ezike Olisaeloka, Orji Osita, Maduakor Chukwunonso and Gideon Okechukwu the taxi driver and some other unknown persons said to be at large were named in eight of the charges as having conspired to murder the late Cynthia Osokogu by administering her with an obnoxious substance known as Rophynol Flunitrazepam tablets via a Ribena fruit juice.

They were also charged with binding her hands, torture, rape and theft of her valuable property.

A new charge, that of inviting the late Cynthia Osokogu through a phone call, was also brought against the first two defendants.

The last two defendants, Ezike Ifechukwu and Ezeaka Chinonso were named in the last two counts as having conspired to rob and receive the stolen property of Cynthia Osokogu.

Magistrate Olalekan has ordered that all seven defendants be remanded in prison custody pending the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The Magistrate also asked the prosecution to expedite action with regards to obtaining the advice before adjourning till the 5th of November.

Cynthia’s murder: Pharmaceutical group petitions prosecutor over member’s trial

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN), has petitioned the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, to properly review the murder case of Cynthia Osogoku to ensure that pharmacists were not persecuted wrongly.

The four suspects accused of killing Cynthia, who they met on Facebook

The national president of PSN, Mr. Azubike Okwor told journalists on Thursday that if the suspects were not found guilty of the crime of rape and armed robbery, they should be handed over to the Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria, (PCN), for proper discipline for selling drugs without prescription.

Mr Okwor says that if the liability of the two pharmacists was limited to the sales or alleged sale of Rohypnol to clients they do not know and never collaborated in the condemnable crime.

He noted that it would be logical to believe there might have been breaches of professional ethics, adding  that the law provides that such matters to be dealt with by the Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria.

Four suspects were on Monday arraigned before a Yaba Magistrate Court for killing 24-year old Cynthia Osokogu, who they met on social media platform.

The suspects, Okwumo Nwabufo,  Ezeike Olisaeloka, Orji Osita and the pharmacists that sold the drug, Rohypnol Flunitrapezam-Maduakor Chukwunonso,  are standing trial on an eight-count of felony, conspiracy, robbery and murder.

Managment sacks hotel workers for negligence over Cynthia’s death

The management of Cosmilla Hotel in Lagos, where the late Miss Cynthia Udoka Osokogu was murdered by some men she met on Facebook, has sacked all the staff of the hotel that were on duty, the day of the murder.

The hotel, which is located at Lake View Estate, Amuwo Odofin in Lagos State, is said to have a tradition of ‘proper screening’ of its guests at the point of checking-in, by demanding valid identification of prospective guests.

The front-desk officer was said to have breached the established procedure, paving way for difficulty in identifying the body of the deceased as her attackers had taken away all items that could assist in identifying her.

The hotel rules demand that guests must present their ID cards or passport before given a room in the hotel.

The fake identities of the suspects had made it difficult for the police at Area ‘F’ Command to quickly solve the murder riddle.

Although only two of the suspects were paraded before journalists at the Lagos State Police Command, two others, Orji Osita and Maduako Chukwunonso, who were the pharmacists that sold the drug, used to sedate the late Cynthia, were on Monday, arraigned before the Yaba Magistrates’ Court with the main suspects.

The case is adjourned to the 3rd of October.

The Delta State-born victim who met her untimely death is set to be buried September 7.