Court Sentences Community Leader To Death For Killing Witchcraft Suspect

The community leader of Efen Ibom in Ika Local Government Area of the Akwa-Ibim State, Chief Essien Matthew Odiong has been sentenced to death by hanging for murder of a witchcraft suspect.

The 82 year-old convict, was found guilty of the four-count charge preferred against him by Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo on August 12, 2022.

The charges against the village head who was married to 12 wives with 60 children, were conspiracy, directing unlawful trial by ordeal, stealing of motorcycle and murder of the owner, and a member of his community, Udoma Akpan Udo Ubom.

The presiding, Iustice Edem Akpan, found Chief Odiong guilty of murder of Udo Ubom by injecting some chemical substance on him, which led to his death on April 26, 2017.

Africa Investigative Magazine gathered that late Ubom was reported to the village head after he was accused by his brothers of being a wizard.

The deceased was brought before the Efen Clan Council, where the village head directed that he (late Ubom) be given an oath to swear that he was not a wizard.

“Having sensed the consequences of his criminal activity, the monarch escaped from the Village since 2017 and returned in 2019, when he was arrested by the Police.

“The accused had voluntarily admitted that he sat at Efen Clan Council with five other village heads and members of the Clan Council to try the deceased on the allegation of witchcraft, the law has relieved the prosecution of the burden to prove the offense of conspiracy.

“The admission of the process of trial and the decision of Efen Clan Council to administer oath on the deceased, has logically brought to the conclusion that a plastic bath on the head of the late Udoma Akpan Udo Ubom and injecting some chemical susbtance through a syringe into his buttocks by the village head, caused the death of the deceased.”

Justice Akpan sentenced the Village Head to death by hanging for murder, seven years imprisonment with hard labour for directing unlawful trial by ordeal and three years imprisonment for conspiracy with others now at large.

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