23rd November, 2010
A High Court in Aba, Abia hasÂ sentenced a 30-year-old man to death by hanging forÂ kidnapping and murdering his victim.
Loveday Ahuchaogu, the kidnapper from Umuawa in Isiala-Ngwa Local Government Area ofÂ the state and others still at large were facing a four-count charge for kidnappingÂ and murdering Mr Francis Ajayi on 28 July, 2008 at Umudike in Ikwuano, near Umuahia.
Ahuchaogu was charged withÂ kidnapping, murder, conspiracy and robbery.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, in her judgment ruled that the accusedÂ was found guilty of the offences as charged and gave Ahuchaogu seven yearsÂ imprisonment with hard labour for conspiracy and 10 years with hard labour forÂ kidnapping.
The accused also got 10 years with hard labour for robbery and was condemned toÂ death by hanging for murder.
Mrs Ngozi Obioma, Director of Legal Services in charge of the Public ProsecutionÂ Division of the Abia State Ministry of Justice, Aba Out-station who is the LeadÂ Prosecuting Counsel, told newsmen shortly after the court sitting that it was a fairÂ judgment.
Obioma said that Ahuchaogu’s defense was flimsy and frivolous against the weight andÂ gravity of evidence against him as adduced by the prosecution.
She said that the evidence against the accused was overwhelming as he was caughtÂ red-handed in the banking hall on camera while trying to cash the third tranche ofÂ the ransom money.
She said that Ahuchaogu, who admitted collecting two other tranches of the ransomÂ money, was also implicated through the SIM card of the deceased that was tendered asÂ exhibit.
“It is my belief that justice is done today, everybody in Abia, particularly AbaÂ and environs will agree that the menace of kidnapping has been on the increase,Â making theÂ residents to live in fear.
“It will also serve as a deterrent to others who may be nursing the idea ofÂ embarking on such dangerous escapade,â€™â€™ Obioma said.
Mr I.U. Nwokocha, counsel to the accused, however, pleaded for leniency for hisÂ client, according toÂ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).