230 views | Kenechukwu Ofomah | February 16, 2021
Portharcourt – A High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has sentenced a young man to death by hanging for the murder of a delivery agent with an online marketing store, Jumia, in March 2017.
The convict, Mr. Sodienye Mbatumukeke was arrested alongside his friends, Mr. Divine Excel Naabe and Miss Joy Eluwa for the murder of the delivery agent, Chukwuma Eleji.
The lifeless body of late Eleji, the Jumia delivery agent, was found in a septic tank in an apartment on Ada-George Road in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on March 27, 2017.
He was said to be delivering two iPhones to the accued, who had ordered for them through the Internet, when he was attacked and killed.
The assailants were reported to have dumped his remains in the septic tank in a desperate attempt to cover up the crime.
However, three years after, no judgement has been delivered on the matter, raising agitations on the development from various quarters.
On the 7th of December, the High Court adjourned till the 15th of February for the delivery of judgement on the matter, after lawyers from the prosecuting and defense sides, argued on the point of law and adopted their written addresses in court.
Earlier, before the judgement, Bonaventure Ugwu, lawyer to the first defendant, Mbatamunuke, urged the court to discharge and acquit his client of the charges of murder and armed robbery because the prosecution team has not proven their case.
Mr. Ugwu objected to the admissibility of the earlier confessional statements of his client because it was not endorsed by any representatives of the defendant as required by law.
On his part, Lucky Agor, lawyer to the second defendant, Naabe, said the prosecution team has not been able to link his client to the charges of accessory or accomplice in the murder of the late Jumia delivery agent, saying that reliance on the contradictory statements of any witness may lead to a miscarriage of justice against his client.
But the Director of Public Prosecution in the Rivers State Ministry of Justice, Ibiene Mbano represented by a lawyer from the ministry, wants judgment to be entered in their favor because according to him, they have convinced the court with the presentation of overwhelming pieces of evidence against the two defendants in the matter.
While delivering judgement on the matter on Monday, the presiding Judge, Justice Chigozie Igwe found Mr. Mbatumukeke guilty on two counts of murder and armed robbery.
The judge sentenced him to death by hanging for the two offences.
According to him, the murder of the delivery man was done in a gruesome manner and the sentence will serve as a deterrent to others to refrain from such crime.
Justice Igwe however discharged and acquitted the second defendant, Divine Excel Naabe of murder and armed robbery.