By Iniobong Ekponta, Leadership Newspaper
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The protracted legal battle in search of justice for the 24-year-old Ms. Iniubong Umoren, lured, raped, and murdered in the course of job-hunting in April last year, is expected to come to its final determination on Thursday, August 4, 2022.
This was the decision reached by Justice Bassey Nkanang, of the Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Division of the High Court, after the adoption of the final written addresses of the prosecution and defense counsel.
The late Umoren, a University of Uyo,UNIUYO, graduate of Philosophy, while awaiting clearance for the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, was gathered, was in search of a stop-gap job, but ended up being lured, raped and killed through a phony job offer on social media by one Uduak Frank Akpan, who claimed to be an undergraduate of Obong University in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area.
The suspect, who was arrested along with his father, Frank Akpan, a retired deputy director at the federal civil service, and his sister as co-accomplices, according to the prosecution counsel, Friday Itim Esq., had admitted killing the deceased under the first trial Judge, Justice Benett Ilaumoh, but later denied the allegation under the current Judge, Justice Nkanang.
In his final submission, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Udom, who was represented by Friday Itim, a Deputy Director of Public Prosecution at the ministry of Justice, pleaded for a maximum punishment of death, recalling that “the accused had already pleaded guilty to one count charge of murder preferred against him during trial before the first Judge, Justice Benett Ilaumoh”.
But in a counter submission, the defense counsel led by Sampson Abdulla Esq., urged the Court to dismiss the matter as the case cannot be proven beyond every reasonable doubt that the defendants committed the crime.
Besides, he pleaded to the Court for mercy for the first accused’s father, “because of his status as a retired deputy director at the federal civil service”.
He also argued that the offense of the third accused sister to the prime suspect, was “only to harbor her brother for just 15 minutes in her house in the neighboring Calabar, Cross River State, where he fled to after he was accused of murder”.
However, Justice Nkanang reserved judgment and final determination of the case for August 4, 2022.
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