[From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar]
Akwa Ibom State High Court presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang has sentenced Uduak Frank Akpan to death.
Akpan was sentenced to death for the murder of Iniobong Umoren, a job seeker.
In a dramatic scene at the courtroom, Akpan reportedly attempted to flee after the judgment was pronounced on him. He was, however, overpowered by the prison warders and police at the court premises.
The killing of Iniobong occurred last November in Uyo Metropolis.
The judge however acquitted the convict’s father, Frank Akpan, as well as, his sister Anwan Bassey who were also charged for being accessories to the murder.
The late Iniobong has since been buried in May, last year, by her family in Akwa Ibom.
Akpan who initially confessed to the crime during trial in November, dramatically made a U-turn, as he pleaded not guilty on resumption of trial.
Akpan was standing trial for the murder of Umoren, a graduate of Philosophy, from the University of Uyo, whom he allegedly lured from Lagos, raped and murdered in Uyo under the guise of offering her a job.
Akpan, the prime suspect had at the beginning of the trial by Justice Bennett Illaumoh pleaded guilty to killing late Ms Umoren.
The court now presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang has begun the de novo trial and Akpan who appeared before the court alongside the 2nd accused(his father) and 3rd accused(Sister) made a u-turn and pleaded not guilty to the two-count charges of murder and rape preferred against him.
His father, Frank Akpan and his sister, Anwan Bassey Akpan respectively pleaded not guilty to the charge of accessory before the fact and obstructing arrest.
The plea came even as the chairman of Uruan local government area, Surveyor Iniobong Ekpeyong and one Kufre Effiong who were given witness summon appeared and gave evidence in court.
Giving his evidence before the court, the local government chairman who is the first prosecution witness told the court how he facilitated the arrest of the first accused who incidentally is his cousin.
He told the court that he learnt about the murder of Iniubong Umoren when his attention was drawn to a social media post that the second accused, and father of the first accused, Mr Frank Akpan had been arrested by the police.
Ekpenyong said he received calls from various corners asking him to intervene because the second accused person, Frank Akpan, a retired deputy director in the Federal Ministry of Health was sick and needed urgent medical treatment.