The Cynthia Osokogu Facebook love saga came to a somewhat fitting climax recently with two of the accused persons standing trial for her murder being sentenced to death by hanging by a Lagos State High Court presided over by Justice Olabisi Akinlade.
The convicts, Okwumo Nwabufo and Olisaeloka Ezike, were originally arraigned with two others, Orji Osita and Ezike Nonso, on a six-count charge of conspiracy, murder, stealing, recklessness, negligence and possession of stolen goods. Orji and Ezike escaped the hangman’s noose.
The keen interest the case generated could only be attributed to the remarkable familiarity that it bears to the common story line of Nigerian Nollywood movies. Unfortunately there is nothing fictitious or make-believe about the Cynthia Osokogu Facebook love tragedy. It was a story founded on naiveté and deception, ending in sorrow for all the dramatis personae.
It all began when Cynthia, the young post-graduate student of Nasarawa State University, was lured to Lagos by men she reportedly met on the social media platform, Facebook. It turned out to be a journey of no return as she was later found strangled on July 22, 2012 at Cosmilla Hotel, Lakeview Estate, FESTAC Town Lagos.
The long arm of the law eventually apprehended the culprits, and the trial began on February 8, 2013. Though judgement did not come as quickly as expected, but in delivering her ruling four years after, Justice Akinlade was convinced that based on the weight of evidence provided by the prosecution, Nwabufo and Ezike were guilty of the crime and so deserved to die.
Expatiating on the essence of justice with regards to the case, she submitted thus: “In judgement, justice is required not only for the victim, but also for the society. In their attempt to steal Cynthia’s property, they stole her life. But for the efforts of the police and the Ministry of Justice, we wouldn’t have been able to do anything.
“They didn’t even feel remorseful and even came to the court to tell lies. This court cannot change the law. I pronounce the sentence of this court upon you, Okwumo Echezona Nwabufo and Olisaeloka Ezike, that you be hanged by the neck until you are dead and may God have mercy on your souls.”
We commend the security agents who diligently investigated the case and provided the relevant evidence that nailed the suspects in court and the judge for duly applying the letters of the law to ensure that justice was served in the end.
This case should also serve as a lesson to young and impressionable consumers of social media contents, that there are criminal elements waiting to take advantage of, or harm, them. A word is enough for the wise.