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Court sentences two men to death by hanging for murder

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A High Court sitting in Ukwa, Abia State, has sentenced former members of the defunct Bakassi Group (now the Abia State Vigilante Services), Mr Ugochukwu Amaugo and Mr Udo Ogba Oka, to death by hanging, for alleged murder.

The judgment, read out and pronounced by Hon Justice Chibuzo Ahuchaogu, found them guilty of an alleged case of murder that occurred on August 30, 2013.

It would be recalled that the convicts, who were members of the defunct Bakassi group (now Abia State Vigilante Services), had stated that on the 30th of August, 2013, they arrested two young men named Temple Nwakanma and Martins Azih around Osisioma, Aba, claiming to have found them in possession of firearms, cartridges, and knives.

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They had further stated that they moved the arrested men from Osisioma to their Umuahia office, during which they encountered some men of the Nigerian Army at Abia Tower. After interrogation, the military personnel requested that the boys be handed over to them, which they did.

The convicts claimed not to know the names of the military personnel, nor did they receive a note from them at the time of the handover.

However, the whereabouts of the young men became unknown thereafter, as the members of the Nigerian Army in the area denied receiving any such individuals, as claimed by the members of the defunct Bakassi Group.

Efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of these young men have proven abortive over the last 11 years.

The matter has been in court since the incident and reached a conclusion on Thursday, as Hon. Justice Chibuzo Ahuchaogu sentenced both men of the defunct Bakassi group to death by hanging. This was based on the failure to prove beyond every reasonable doubt that they had handed the boys to the Nigerian Army personnel and therefore knew nothing about their disappearance.

The judgment was pronounced on the basis of the murder of the victims, Mr Temple Nwakanma and Mr Martins Azih, respectively.


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