Justice A. O. Okuma of an Onitsha High Court 4 in Anambra State yesterday sentenced a 32-year-old man, Echezona Umeokanne, to death by hanging. Umeokanne was sentenced to death 13 years after he was arrested for armed robbery and unlawful possession of fire arms.
The convict, who was 19 years old when he was first arraigned in 1999, was arrested by the police on July 7, 1999, following a complaint by one Ngozika Nwadim, whose motorcycle was snatched at gun point on Ezinifite Road in Ikenga town. Umeokanne has since then been standing trial for the crime.
The counsel from the state Directorate of the Public Prosecution, (DPP), Mr. Daniel Ejabukwa, told the court that Umeokanne committed the crime, contrary to Section 1 (2) (a) of Robbery and Fire Arms (special provisions) Act, Cap 398, Vol. 22 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN).
According to Ejabukwa, the accused, who committed the crime in Ezinifite within the Aguata Judicial Division, had been standing trial in Aguata Division before his case file was transferred to Onitsha on the order of the state Chief Judge.
But the defense counsel, Mr. A. O. Oluwatuwanshe, argued that his client was innocent of the charge.He, however, promised to appeal against the judgment.