September 26, 2014

Six to die in Abia for murder of human rights activist

Six to die in Abia for murder  of human rights activist

Late Comrade Chidi Nwosu

By Anayo Okoli

UMUAHIA—ABIA State High Court sitting in Arochukwu has sentenced six persons to death by hanging for the murder of an Aba-based human rights activist, Comrade Chidi Nwosu.

Nwosu was killed in his Ameke Abam home in Arochukwu Local Government Area on the night of December 29, 2010.
He was then the General Manager of Abia Rubber Plantation located in his Abam community.

Those sentenced are Acha Uka Awo, the driver to late Nwosu; Chimezie Awo, Oti Uka Awo, Sampson Ngozi Atum, Awo Uka Awo and Iroha Orji Ogbuagu.
During the trial which started in January 2013, the accused persons, through their counsel, Victor Mbanaso, entered a no-case submission, arguing that the prosecutor did not satisfy the requirement of the law by linking the accused persons directly with the crime.

But the court presided over by Justice Uche Okoroafor over-ruled and rejected the no-case submission, insisting that the accused person entered their defence.
The accused maintained their ground and rather relied on the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.

The said evidence of the prosecution was that the 1st accused (Acha Uka Awo), driver to the deceased who usually slept with the deceased whenever he was home did not sleep with him on the night he was killed, but that he was seen moments after Nwosu was killed scooping his blood into a container.

The prosecutor also noted that his black beret cap was also seen at the scene of the crime, while the short double barrel gun used in killing the deceased, including a cartridge, was also seen at the scene of the crime.

For the 2nd- 5th accused persons, their involvement was that they fled the village after the crime and were not among the youths that gathered at the village square when all the villagers were summoned.

Their statement to the police which pleaded alibi were not also corroborated by either their evidence in court as they did not given any.
On the strength of the evidence of the prosecution witness, the Court made inference from all the surrounding circumstances and relied on circumstantial evidence to sentence the accused persons to death.

After the death of Comrade Nwosu, the civil rights group, led by Abia branch of CLO, facilitated the trial of the accused persons when they were approached by the father of the deceased, 80-year-old Chief Okonnaya Nwosu.