Man sentenced to death by hanging in Benue

By The Citizen

The Benue State Chief Judge, Justice Iorhemen Hwande, on Friday convicted and sentenced one Ushahemba Agu to death by hanging for robbing and killing his friend, one Sunday Hassan.

Agu has been standing trial before the court for the offences of culpable homicide punishable with death under the Penal Code and armed robbery punishable with death under the Robbery and Firearms Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The accused was said to have stabbed Hassan who was his friend to death with a knife on Dec 28, 2011  .

According to the prosecution counsel, Mr E.C.A. Hundu, the deceased was conveying the accused person on his Baja Boxer motorcycle with registration number UC 503 LFA to Udei in Guma Local Government Area of Benue when he was killed.

The prosecution explained that the accused person removed his knife and stabbed the deceased on his back, stomach and at the liver area and made away with his motorcycle valued at N105,000.00 at Gbor-Igo along Gidan Rirae, Udei in Guma.

Prosecution said that the deceased died instantly as a result of the injuries inflicted on him by the accused.

When the case came up for hearing before a Makurdi High Court, prosecution called three witnesses and tendered five exhibits to prove its case while accused testified for himself and called one witness in his defence.

In his extra judicial statement with the police during investigation, the accused person confessed to the commission of the crimes.

However, in his testimony before the court, the accused denied the charges against him.

He explained that he went to the farm with his elder brother, Vitalis on that fateful day.

He said that he was sitting in his compound after closing from the farm with members of his family till 4:00 pm   when Fulani herdsmen attacked them and he ran into the forest to hide.

He stated further he was surprised when he came out of the forest later only to be arrested by the police on allegations of culpable homicide and armed robbery.

The accused claimed that he did not make the extra judicial statement with the police, explaining that a police man brought it to him and asked him to thumb print.

In his defence, counsel for the accused, Mr Kwaghkehe Ierkwagh, argued that prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt to warrant the conviction of his client.

Ierkwah submitted that the essential elements of the defence for which accused had been standing trial had not been proved, insisting that prosecution must establish that there was armed robbery and the accused was the robber.

He further said that the accused understood only Tiv Language but he was forced by the police to sign a document which was written in English Language.

He said that the accused was just an unfortunate victim fleeing from the attack of the Fulanis.

Ierkwagh therefore, urged the court to discharge and acquit his client in view of the doubts in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.

Prosecution on the other hand, said that the case on both charges against the accused had been creditably proved.

Hundu said that the confession of the accused in his statement with the police was positive, direct and unequivocal.

He argued that the evidence highlighted had proven that there was stealing with the aid of an offensive weapon and the accused had been linked with the robbery.

He submitted further that the evidence had also proved that the deceased died and the death was occasioned through the act of the accused who knew that death was the probable consequence of his action.

Hundu finally submitted that the evidence against the accused had not been challenged by any form of evidence whatsoever.

He urged the court to find the accused guilty as charged.

In his allocutus, counsel for the accused pointed out that the accused was a young man and has the opportunity to repent.

He also noted that the accused was a first offender and prayed the court to tamper justice with mercy.

In his judgment, the trial judge said his hands were tied as the law gave no liberty for lesser punishment to an offender of such magnitude.

Hwande therefore, sentenced the accused to death by hanging on each of the two counts charge.