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Court sentences four Bakassi Boys to death by hanging

Posted by Vanguard on 2006/02/04 | Views: 868 |

Court sentences four Bakassi Boys to death by hanging


Justice Chidi Uwa of the Umuahia High Court has sentenced four members of the outlawed Bakassi Boys vigilance group in Abia State to death by hanging for the murder of two persons in 1999.

Justice Chidi Uwa of the Umuahia High Court has sentenced four members of the outlawed Bakassi Boys vigilance group in Abia State to death by hanging for the murder of two persons in 1999.

The convicted men are Ezeji Ephraim, Obisike Eze, Adiele Ndubuisi and Stanley Azuogu.

The judge found the men guilty of killing and burning the remains of Chukwudozie Nwachukwu and Okechukwu Maduekwe at the Safari Restaurant on Azikiwe Road, Umuahia, the Abia State capital on July 9, 1999.

Nwachukwu, an Operations Manager with a Lagos fish trawling company, and Maduekwe, a police sergeant, were killed on grounds that they were suspected armed robbers.

Describing the action of the convicts as barbaric, Uwa said the men and others now at large had set out from their base in Aba as members of Bakassi Boys on the day of the incident with the intention to eliminate their victims.

She dismissed the submissions of the defence counsel that the convicts acted on the orders of the state government, stressing that no responsible government would support barbarism.

She noted that while it was possible that the state government may have invited the group to keep watch over crime in the state, it could not have authorised them to kill innocent citizens of the country.

Uwa pointed out that the convicts were ”criminally negligent” by not ascertaining the identities of their victims, insisting that the deceased were not armed robbers.

She said considering the mode of executing the assignment, the convicts did not act in self-defence, adding that while they were armed and out-numbered their victims, the latter were unarmed and relaxing in a restaurant.

She said it was not necessary for a medical report to confirm the cause of death, pointing out that the victims' limbs and bodies had been dismembered and burnt.

The judge stressed that the dismemberment of parts of their bodies and burning was to ensure that the victims were dead, adding that the convicts did not give the deceased a chance of survival saying if every suspected armed robber was to be slaughtered on the streets like that, everyone would be living in fear of being killed.

Uwa noted that the Bakassi Boys vigilante group was an illegal security organisation, which was not authorised to carry arms adding that even if the group was invited by the state government, it was not bound to obey unlawful orders, stressing: “Obedience to superior order must be a lawful order''.

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