BY ONOZURE DANIA
IKEJA – An Ikeja High Court in Lagos, yesterday, sentenced an ex-police corporal, Ikechukwu Nwabueze, to death by hanging for killing a three-year-old girl, Kasufara Muritala.
According to reports, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, found the 35-year-old former policeman guilty of the murder charge preferred against him.
Nwabueze, who was arraigned on June 15, 2010 by the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions, had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Mrs Olabisi Ogungbesan, the Director of Public Prosecution, said Nwabueze on April 5, 2009 at a police check-point at Ketu-Alapere, Lagos, shot at a Nissan Sunny car conveying the deceased and her parents.
Ogungbesan said the incident occurred at Obanle Aro bus stop, Ketu-Alarape at about 9.30 pm when Kasufara and her parents were returning from a naming ceremony.
She said the father of the deceased, Saliu Muritala, was hit on his hand while the little girl, who was sitting on the back sit with her mother, was shot in the head.
The DPP said the five policemen from Alarepe Police Station, including Nwabueze, fled from the check-point after the father came out of the car with the lifeless body of the deceased.
In her judgment, Akinlade held that the prosecution proved its case against Nwabueze beyond reasonable doubt.
She said the defendant in his confessional statement to the police after his arrest, had admitted shooting at the rear of the car but not with the intent to kill the deceased.
The judge held that Nwabueze’s attempt to deny that the statement was not made “voluntarily,” was an after-thought aimed at misleading the court.
“It is trite law that a confessional statement of a defendant is relevant and should not be discarded merely on the basis that he had retracted the statement during trial,” the judge said.