By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
An Uyo High Court has sentenced a 52-year-old man in Akwa Ibom to death by hanging for killing his pregnant wife, whom he accused of infidelity.
Named Nkereuwem Etim Emah, a native of Mbiabam in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, got the sentence on Thursday delivered by the presiding Justice, Bassey Nkanang having found him guilty of murder.
According to the Court, Emah, a father of five, butchered his wife of 12 years to death on 12th February, 2018 while she was sleeping in their residence, Mbiabam, Ibiono Ibom.
He was arraigned and took plea on 6th December, 2018 when he pleaded not guilty to the lone count of murder, contrary to Section 326(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, Volume 2, Laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, 2000
The judgment came after four years of litigation in which, the prosecution called three witnesses, one of them, a 10-year-old son of the deceased, Christian Sylvanus Etim who narrated how his father took the life of his mother.
“On 12/2/2018, my father, (the accused person) is a mechanic with the Water Board. On the said date, he used a matchet in the night. My mother was sleeping. He used it and cut my mother. My mother died. The incident took place in the house we all lived in. The village head called the Police in Itam. The Police came and invited me to accompany them to the station.”
The evidence of the son was corroborated by his father, the accused person who had confessed to the Police when he was arrested after the incident.
“Today, 12/2/2018 at about 4:30am, I call my wife to ask her about how she came about the pregnancy and who is responsible for it. She refused to answer me and I become annoyed. I took the big matchet and cut her right hand. She moved to run away, I cut her neck again and she fall down. I was informed by people around our house that one Michael Udoh always sleep with her anytime I left the house for work.” Emah said in his extrajudicial statement which is an exhibit before the Court.
In a one-hour judgment today, the trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang described the act as “callous, inexplicable and inexcusable debasement of the marriage institution.”
He said “the nature of the weapon resorted to and the part of the body attacked by the accused person in ventilating his rage at the victim, are clears pointers that indeed, the accused person clearly intended to kill the deceased.
“It is accordingly held that the prosecution has proved the charge of murder against the accused person beyond reasonable doubt as required by law and the accused person is hereby found guilty of the offense of murder and is accordingly convicted.” Justice Bassey said.
The Court held that “the accused person, Nkereuwem Etim Emah is hereby sentenced to death. In compliance with the Section 339(2) of the Criminal Procedure Law, Cap 39, Laws of Akwa Ibom State, the sentence of the Court upon you, Nkereuwem Etim Emah is that, you be hanged by the neck until you be dead and may the Lord have mercy on your souls”.
Earlier in his allocutus, the accused person had pleaded the Court to temper justice with mercy and give him another chance to go home and take care of his five children.