Why is Nigeria’s judicial process complicated? 10 years to reach a verdict? – Jide Salu
The Supreme Court has affirmed the death sentence passed on the General-Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo (aka Rev. King), by a Lagos High Court in Ikeja for the murder and attempted murder of some members of his church in 2006.
The cleric was sentenced to death by hanging by then trial judge of the Lagos High Court, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole (now Justice of the Court of Appeal) on January 11, 2007.
A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Friday, dismissed the appeal filed by the cleric against the concurrent judgments of the Lagos High Court in Ikeja and Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which had both convicted him of the alleged crimes.
The condemned cleric, was arraigned before the Lagos High Court in Ikeja on September 26, 2006 on six counts of murder of a member of his church, Ann Uzoh, and attempted murder of five other devotees.
He was said to have poured petrol on the deceased and the five other victims and set them on fire thereafter.
One of the victims, Uzoh, was said to have died on August 2, 2006, 11 days after the incident, as a result of the injuries said to have been sustained from the burnt.
She was said to have been 65 per cent burnt in the fire incident.
Ezeugo had appealed to the Court of Appeal against the judgment of Justice Oyewole.
But the judgment of the Lagos High Court was affirmedd by the Court of Appeal in its verdict delivered on February 1, 2013.
The judgment of the appeal court was further affirmed by the Supreme Court on Friday.
In his opening remarks, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who read the lead judgment, said, “The fact of this case could have been lifted from a horror film.”
The Justice Amina Augie-led three-man panel of the appeal court, had unanimously dismissed Ezeugo’s appeal, stating that the prosecution had “surely and effectively” proved its case against him at the trial court.
Justice Fatima Akinbami who read the lead judgment had dismissed the appellant’s contention that there were “contradictions and inconsistencies” in the prosecution’s evidence.