By Hanatu Sadiq
20-year-old Uduakabasi Akpan has pleaded guilty to a three count charge of murder and pleaded not guilty to the second charge bordering on rape, while his father Frank Akpan pleaded not guilty to a one-charge of accessory.
The accused are standing trial before the court, having been accused of allegedly murdering one Iniobong Umoren, a 26-year-old graduate of Philosophy of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in suit no. HU/87c/ 2021 between the state versus the accused persons.
Umoren was reportedly lured, abducted and later murdered on April 29, 2021, by the first accused, Uduakabasi, in the pretext of offering her a job, an offence which is punishable under section 326(1) of the criminal code, cap 33 vol.2, laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria (2000) and rape which is contrary to section 367 of the criminal code, cap 38 vol, 2 of the Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria (2000)
Speaking with reporters shortly after the proceedings, the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Uko Udom (SAN) assured the public that justice would be served.
He said capital offence does not carry any time frame, adding that in the next ten years or more, anybody found guilty in the same matter can still be prosecuted.
“In criminal prosecution, we rely on the evidence from the investigations brought by the official investigators of the case. We have gone through all the investigation reports by all security operatives that handled the investigation. Currently, the two that have been arraigned today are people that we have sufficient evidence to prosecute.
“And let people not start wondering about all kinds of stories. In criminal prosecution, there is no time bar to criminal culpability. If tomorrow, even 10 years from now, evidence comes out that can tie anyone who is not charged today to this crime, that person will still be charged,” he said
Speaking also with journalists, Counsel to Uduak, Barrister Samson Abdullah said, “Before now, I have had no contact with the first accused. It is just today that I took over the defence of the accused.
“The court called me to put up an appearance for the first accused person which I did graciously in line with the mandate of the counsel.”