LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- A father of seven identified as Pius Udo Ben, a father of seven in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has been sentenced to death for kidnapping a four year old boy who has not been found till date.
59-year-old Ben, was standing trial before the State High Court sitting in Abak with one Emmanuel Dickson Assam, a 62 year-old carpenter, charged for aiding him to escape, contrary to Section 12 subsection B of Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law, 2009.
The details of the case showed that the four-year old victim was sleeping in his mother’s shop at Iko Eket in the said LGA of the State, where the convict who came with a motorcyclist, tricked his 11 year-old sister to leave the shop and search for a change for iced fish of N100.
She returned without seeing her brother and the kidnapper, who left behind the iced fish he came pretending to buy.
In her one hour judgement, the presiding judge, Justice Eno Isangedighi said she had read the addresses of the defense and the prosecution against the background of the facts adduced in evidence what she described as “straightforward”.
Justice Isangedighi discharged and acquitted the second accused, Emmanuel Dickson Assam for lack of evidence and found the first accused, Pius Udo Ben guilty of kidnapping and sentenced him to death by hanging.
According to her, “whether the four year-old boy is alive or not, the clue lies with the convict, who from the fact of the case, has decided to keep mum and face the consequences alone.”
“He may well not be alive again or is being raised in a strange environment to be who God did not create him to be. Whatever happens, it is expected that justice must be done,” Justice Isangedighi held.
She also said that she has “listened to the allocutus of the first defendant and considered the passionate plea for mercy by the defense counsel. I have also double checked the provisions of the law to see whether it allow any latitude for discretion on the Court during sentencing, what I find is very clear and it states that “any person who contravenes subsection 1 of Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law, 2009 commits an offence and shall on conviction, be liable to be sentenced to death.”
“Very sadly, the Court has no discretion for power to lessen the sentence. Had there been such discretion, the Court would have taken into consideration, the fact that the first defendant has been in custody for about 10 years. But as it stands, I am powerless to do so.”
“The sentence of this Court upon you, Pius Udo Ben is that, you are hereby sentenced to death. You shall be hanged on the neck until you die. May the Lord have mercy on your soul,” Justice Isangedighi held.