A State High Court in Uyo has fixed August 4 to deliver judgment in Iniubong Umoren’s case, the Akwa Ibom job seeker who was allegedly raped and killed by Uduak Akpan, who lured her with a fake job offer.
Miss Umoren’s body was later exhumed from a shallow grave on April 30, 2021, a day after she was killed at Mr Akpan’s family compound in the outskirts of Uyo.
She was a fresh graduate of philosophy, University of Uyo, who was waiting for her deployment for the mandatory National Youth Service Corp programme.
Miss Umoren did not live to see her mobilisation letter for the programme or even her final-year result, although she graduated as one of the top students in her department.
Defence’s final argument
Mr Akpan’s counsel, Sampson Adulla, while adopting his written address on Tuesday urged the judge, Bassey Nkanang, to rely on the “weak facts” presented by the prosecution to discharge and acquit his client.
Mr Akpan is being prosecuted by the Akwa Ibom State Government for rape and murder, while his father, Frank Akpan (second defendant) and sister, Bassey-awan (third defendant) are being prosecuted for allegedly aiding the first defendant after the murder of Miss Umoren.
Mr Adulla asked Justice Nkanang to discountenance the confessional statements of the first defendant.
He said the evidence given by Mr Akpan during the trial within trial was never discredited, and argued that there was no witness to testify that his client committed the murder.
On Mr Frank and Miss Bassey-awan, Mr Adulla told the judge that Mr Akpan was arrested a day after the alleged offence and as of the time Mr Akpan visited his sister in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, his alleged offence was kidnapping and not murder.
He concluded that Mr Akpan’s father (Frank) and sister (Bassey-awan) cannot be accessories after the fact to murder and added that there was no evidence before the court that Mr Frank and Bassey-awan knew that her brother was being accused of murder.
He prayed the court to discharge and acquit them accordingly.
Mr Adulla stood in for Abasiodiong Ekpenyong, counsel to Mr Akpan’s father and sister.
What prosecution lawyer said
In his submission while adopting his written address, the prosecution counsel, Friday Itim, a deputy director of public prosecution in the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Justice, told the judge that Mr Akpan is a highly intelligent person who was able to distinguish between rape and murder when he was first arraigned.
Mr Itim reminded the judge that Mr Akpan pleaded guilty to the charge of murder but not rape during his first court appearance in July last year.
He told the judge that the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt the four charges against the three accused persons and urged the judge to find them guilty and impose proper punishment in line with the law.
Justice Nkanang, after hearing both submissions, adjourned the case to August 4 for judgment. He remanded the accused persons at the correctional facility in Uyo.