By Austin Ogwuda, Asaba
FOUR persons standing trial over the kidnap of the father of a former Secretary to the Delta State Government, SSG, Chief Arthur Okowa, were Friday sentenced to 45 years each, bringing the total number of the jail term to 180 years.
In addition, they are to serve their jail with hard labour.
However, the second accused person, one Ferdinand Iwerebor was reported to have jumped bail during trial and still at large while the court had since issued him a bench warrant.
Fresher Aiworo, Victor Ajulor, Bright Onyemare and George Ogala were sentenced to 35 years each for count 1 and 2 (conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery) and 10 years each for count 3 and 4 (conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping).
The jail terms, according to the court are to run concurrently counting from the date of sentence.
Presiding Judge, Justice Celestina Ogisi in her judgment stated that “the court is satisfied that prosecution was able to establish ingredients of all the information count against the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th accused persons beyond reasonable doubt. I hereby found you guilty and convict you accordingly”.
Prosecution called three witnesses including the victim Pa Arthur Okowa and tendered several documents to prove its case while defence pleaded not guilty and called no witnesses.
Prosecution in a five-count charge filed before the court stated that “one Fresher Aiworo (m) and five others, on or about the 20th day of July, 2008 at Boji-Boji Owa within Owa-Oyibu judicial division unlawfully kidnapped Chief Arthur Okowa”.
It further stated that the accused persons “on or about the 20th day of July, 2008 at Boji-Boji Owa within Owa-Oyibu judicial division while in the company of others now at large robbed one Chief Arthur Okowa (male) cash sum of N7,000 while armed with an offence weapon to with gun”.