31yrs old man Sentence to death for kidnapping 4yrs boy, who has not been found till today in Akwa Ibom

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By Harrison Essien, From Uyo Akwa Ibom

Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Ikot Ekpene, has sentenced a 31-year-old year old man to death for kidnapping a 4-year-old boy, who has not been found till today.

The convict, Ekerete Michael Ukpong, a native of Udok Atai in Ikono Local Government Area was sentenced today by Justice Augustine Odokwo.

In a one-hour judgement, Justice Odokwo found Ekerete Ukpong guilty of kidnapping, punishable by death, under section one of Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law, 2009.

Justice Odokwo held that the prosecuting counsel has notified the court that the victim, 4-year-old Success Amos Kalu, a native of Ohafia in Abia State, who was kidnapped 25th September, 2015, at Ibiakpan Akananwan, Ikot Ekpene, is yet to be found.

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He said kidnapping is prevalent in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large, hence, all hands must be on deck to rid society of the menace, which he noted, "has assumed a hydra-headed dimension."

The Court held that "the convict is taking the punishment alone although records show that he acted in consent with others, who are now at large. I have given due consideration to plea for mercy and forgiveness by the convict and his learned counsel."

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Justice Odokwo said "the judgement should send a clear signal to all and sundry that the full weight of the law will descend on kidnappers."

"I have gone through Section 1 (2) of Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law 2009, the section that provides for punishment for the offense of kidnapping. That section of the law provides for only one punishment. I will in this circumstance, follow the law and the law only. The sentence of this Court against the convict is death." Justice Odokwo pronounced.

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The Court held that "His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State will determine the means and place of the execution within the State."

Before the sentence, Justice Odokwo had changed to a black cap, with the convict weeping uncontrollably in the Courtroom, before he was whisked away by officials of Nigeria Correctional Centre, Ikot Ekpene.

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