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Ini Umoren: Court sentence killer Uduak Akpan to death by hanging

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Ini Umoren was killed by Uduak Akpan
Uduak Frank Akpan and late Iniubong Umoren

On Thursday, Justice Bassey Nkanang of the Akwa Ibom State High Court condemned Uduak Akpan to death by hanging for the murder of Iniubong Umoren.

Umoren, a University of Uyo philosophy graduate, was killed in April 2021. While awaiting mobilisation for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, she was looking for work.

Frank Akpan, the father of Uduak, and Anwan Bassey, the sister of the second and third accused, were released from custody and found not guilty.

In the more than two-hour trial, the judge found Mr. Akpan guilty of rape and stated that the prosecution’s case for rape and murder against Mr. Akpan was beyond a reasonable doubt.

The convicted rapist tried to flee the courtroom when the verdict was announced, but security personnels immediately apprehended him.

The defendant admitted to murder but denied rape when he first appeared in court on July 26, 2021.

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Having admitted to murdering the victim, the court, however, entered a not-guilty plea for the murder of Ms Umoren.

Uduak Apkan tried to escape but security men quickly apprehended him

“For a capital offence, an accused person pleading guilty is neither here nor there. As far as the law is concerned, he is not guilty until we (prosecution) prove our case,” the Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State, Uko Udom, who led the prosecution team told reporters then.

“So, if an accused person pleads guilty in a capital offence like this, the court normally would enter a plea of not guilty for him.”

To the surprise of many, Akpan later changed his mind during his trial and refuted accusations that he raped and murdered Ms. Umoren.

He claimed to the court that he had a fever the day he entered his guilty plea and that his Investigating Police Office had influenced him to do so.

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The prisoner emphasised that a similar statement he gave to the Department of State Services (DSS) was made under pressure and that he also refuted the confessional comments he made to the police.

However, Ama Okeke, a DSS call data analyst who testified in court, showed the jury a tape of Mr. Akpan’s interview that refuted his assertions. The footage was accepted as evidence by the court.

Akpan and Ms. Umoren were at the same cell record and coordinate (place) in Nung Ikono Obio in the Uruan Local Government Area, the DSS official testified in court after presenting a call record analysis.

The third accused party and Mr. Akpan’s sister, Bassey-Awan, was detained in Calabar, Cross River State, as a result of investigations by the secret service, according to Okeke.

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In addition to his confessional comments to the DSS and the police, the convicted murderer described to reporters how he lured and killed the victim when he was being paraded at the Uyo police headquarters.

Uduak Akpan to die by hanging

The defendant’s father, Frank Akpan, claimed in court that his son had a mental problem and was an outpatient at the University of Uyo teaching hospital to prove his son’s innocence.

 

Background Story

The victim vanished on April 29, 2021, after Uduak Akpan tricked her into leaving her Uyo homee for a phoney job interview.

Uduak Umoh, a friend of Ms. Umoren, claimed that while speaking with her over the phone, she could hear her pleading for assistance.

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During the hunt, Ms. Umoh had tweeted: “She sent me a 1sec audio record on WhatsApp and I had to call her back to know whether she wanted to say something to me, but when I phoned her, I heard her screaming.”

Many Nigerians were compelled to utilise the hashtag #FindHinyUmoren to assist in locating the missing woman or learn who she met and where they met her as a result of the circumstances.

On April 30, 2021, a day after being raped and killed at Akpan’s family compound, police officers excavated Ms. Umoren’s body from a shallow grave.

Her horrifying death provoked widespread indignation and condemnation over the rise in rape cases in Nigeria.

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