…As court commences 3rd accused defence May 11
By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
THE second accused person, Mr. Frank Akpan in the alleged murder of jobseeker, Iniubong Umoren, yesterday admitted that in the statement he made at the Police and DSS he noted that his son, Uduak-Abasi Akpan had suffered from mental medical condition called Schizophrenia.
Asked during cross examination by the first accused person’s Lawyer, Samson Adula if it was correct that in his statement at the DSS and the Police, he had stated that the first accused person sometime suffered from mental health condition, Frank Akpan responded “Yes my Lord”.
The retired civil servant and farmer in his defence added:”I took him ( first accused person) to hospital twice in 2020. It is correct that I mentioned that the first accused person suffered from Schizophrenia”
Akpan who is being tried on a count of accessory after the fact of murder, which contravenes section 329 of the criminal code, Cap38 vol.2 Laws of Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria, during cross examination by Prosecuting Counsel, Christopher Udoh, told the Court that on April 29, 2021 he left his compound to town, but not with Uduak-Abasi.
He also told the Court that when he returned to his Nung Ikono Ufot compound at about 7pm that same 29, April 2021 that he had met only one person, his son (Uduak-Abasi) in the House.
Asked if he was aware that the Police went to his compound and exhumed the body of late Iniubong Umoren, the second accused person responded that the first time he heard about the exhumation of the body in his compound was inside the court.
Also when handed a phone to Frank Akpan in the witness box to read a text message inside, he acknowledged before the Court that the phone belonged to him and that he had sent the text message to his daughter, the third accused person, Anwan-Bassey in Calabar on April 30, 2021.
The text message simply stated:, “He said he wants to take flying boat. He should not be talking about somebody dying, but escaping”
The Prosecuting counsel then tendered the second accused person’s phone in evidence , and the Court admitted the phone and marked it as Exhibit 17.
While opening his defence earlier, Frank Akpan narrated on the 29th of April that late Iniubong Umoren was declared missing, he left his compound at Nung Ikono Ufot to town at about midday.
He added that he had gone to Ecobank for withdrawal, and thereafter went to the place of his friend and classmate at Holy Family college, Abak, at Uko Eshiet, Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo where he stayed till evening time.
He added: “I returned to my compound from Uyo at about 7pm and I went to sleep because I was not feeling fine. As I was lying down the first accused person (Uduak-Abasi) came to me and said that there was a medical emergency and I told him that we will talk about it early in the morning.
” In the morning of April 30th, 2021, I was still in bed when the first accused person came and told me that he was traveling to Calabar.
Some minutes later, there was a knock on my door, so I went to open it. I saw some policemen who said that they were from the Uruan Divisional office, that there is a case of a missing lady, and they want to search the whole house.
” I conducted them round, and they entered the whole house and completed their search.
Since they didn’t find the missing Lady they brought out a phone with picture of two people and showed me. Then they asked if I could recognise them? I told them that I recognise my son (first accused person) but that I cannot recognise the second person (a male also).
“They now told me to call my son. I put a call across to his phone, but it didn’t go. I now called my last born, Eno Akpan, (daughter) and told her that the first accused person, should come back from Calabar. Later in the day, Uduak-Abasi came back. Before he arrived I was arrested.
“I met him at the Anti-kidnapping unit on April 30, 2021. When he arrived I was released. But the following day I went to give food to the first accused person. When I arrived at the Anti-kidnapping office they re-arrested me.
A day after, I made a statement explaining how I got there (Police station).
” After two days I was taken to the State CID.
I was also asked to make statement there.
After about a month or so I was taken to a Mobile Court at the Police Headquarters, and from there I was taken to Ikot Ekpene correctional center”
The second accused person further said that after another one month he was taken to the DSS office where he asked if I deals in human parts, and he told them no.
” They also asked whether I know the lady that was missing, and I told them I don’t know her. They also wanted to know whether I am a member of Amorc. I was at the DSS for one week. Thereafter I was taken back to Ikot Ekpene correctional center”, the defendant added
When his Lawyer Mr. Abasiodiong Ekpenyong asked if he has any other thing to say in respect of the case, he simply responded, “I don’t have any other thing to say”
The trial Judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang adjourned the case till 10th and 11th of May, 2022 for commencement of the third accused person’s defence.
Speaking after the Court proceeding, first accused person’s Lawyer, Samson Adula explained that he only cross examined the second accused person in line with proof of evidence before the court.
His words: “Going by the statement of the witness (Frank Akpan) both at the State Police Headquarters and at the DSS, he did mention that the first accused person in time past had some mental medical condition which was Schizophrenia.
“And I thought it was proper for the State to investigate that to really know the mental state of the first accused person as at the time when the alleged offence was committed. So my cross examination was in line with the statement obtained earlier by his father which form part of the proof of evidence. It is not something strange”
However, the former Attorney-General of the state, Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko (SAN) who is watching brief for the complainant in the matter talking about the mental state of the first accused person was “a non issue” as he had denied the story of the murder and rape during his defence.
” That issue does not arise because the first accused person does not know anything about the murder case, he does not know about the rape incident, so why should we be talking about his mental state?. It is totally irrelevant to this case.
“If you are to talk about his mental incapacity, you will look at what he did, if a normal person could have done such a thing. That is when you will now look for a justification. But in this case he denied, he doesn’t even know the story” Nwoko explained.