After 3 years of standing murder trial, Sodienye Mbatumueke has been sentenced to death by hanging in a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, for the murder of Jumia delivery agent, Chukwuma Eleje who was killed at Ada-George axis, Port Harcourt, in Obio Akpor local government area.
The accused who is the 1st Defendant in the case has been on trial alongside 2nd Defendant Excel Naabee, on two-count charge of murder, armed robbery and possession of firearms.
In his judgement, Justice Chigozie Igwe, discharged and acquitted the 2nd Defendant Excel Naabee for the failure of the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he actually committed the offence of murder and armed robbery.
Justice Igwe found the 1st Defendant guilty of murder and armed robbery, as the 1st Defendant is capable to commit the offence by ordering iPhones phones worth one hundred and eighty thousand (180,000) naira, while he only has fifty (50) thousand naira in his account.
The Court held that the accused is a hardened criminal who exhibited it by snuffing life out of the poor delivery agent, thereby does not deserve to live or walk about freely on the streets of Nigeria.
Justice Igwe ruled that the 1st Defendant deserves to face the full weight of law because he never showed remorse for his actions throughout the trial, and convicted him to death by hanging on the neck and leg until death.
In an interview with our correspondent, Director of Public Prosecution Ibiene Mbano, said the State prosecution is satisfied with the judgement as justice has been served to the family of the deceased and the society.
“We are satisfied that justice is served accordingly, I am sure that this case will serve as a deterrent particularly to the young ones out there Who think they can grab whatever they want by maiming and killing. Like my Lord said in court, justice is a three traffic, justice for everyone.
“For the discharge and acquitting the 2nd Defendant, when there is a doubt it is better to release a guilty man than to incarcerate an innocent man. The judgement is good because the principal offender has been prosecuted”
Also, Chinedu Ugwu Counsel to the convict, Sodienye Mbatumueke, expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling, noting that they will appeal it.
“We argued base on section 17 of criminal justice law which state that the confessional statement must be taking in video or any electronic device, in this case, the confessional statement of the convict was not recorded on any electronic, not even video or audio, and none was tendered before the court.
“And again, the same section also made mention of the fact that before you convict any person based on a confessional statement, there must be a representative of choice of that person or legal aid counsel, such opportunity was not giving to the convict and he did not bring any when his confessional statement was made.
“We are not satisfied with the conviction of Sodienye Mbatumueke for murder and armed robbery, the convict has already instructed us to proceed to the court of appeal”
The Deceased Wife Mrs Blessing Chukwuma in tears thanked the court for serving justice by convicting the killer of her husband.
“I give God the glory for the justice, I thank the state government for ensuring Justice was served for me and family. It has not been easy for me and the children, the absence of my husband has created a great vacuum in our lives. My Daughter is always asking me when her father will return, she feels her father travelled and will return someday.
“My daughter was just one year and seven months old when her father was murdered unjustly by Sodienye Mbatumueke, but today his painful death has been avenged by Justice”
Recall that Chukwuma Eleje was murdered on March 25 2017, at Ada-George area of Port Harcourt, when he went to deliver items ordered online, by the 1st Defendant Sodienye Mbatumueke and his accomplice Excel Naabee, his body was later recovered inside a septic tank.