The High Court sitting in Lafia , Nasarawa State capital , has sentenced a police sergeant , Vincent Manu, to death for unlawfully killing a businessman , late Stephen Anakwe , and labelling him an armed robber.
Manu was arraigned alongside other five policemen ; Inspector Danladi Lenkem ; Inspector Edula Ateku, who died in the course of the trial; Samson Magga , a corporal; Musa Audu , also a corporal, as well as Christopher Maikasuwa , on one count charge of criminal conspiracy to kill the deceased while they were on patrol duty.
The presiding judge, Justice James Abundega , who found Manu guilty of killing the deceased , said the prosecution was able to prove with cogent circumstantial evidence that the convict intentionally killed the deceased .
The judge rejected the defendant ’s plea of self defence , noting that based on the evidence before him , such plea was not plausible and that the prosecution was able to establish all the ingredients of culpable homicide as provided for in section 220 of the penal code .
He said the offence contravened sections 220 of the penal code and is punishable under section 221.
He , however, absolved the other policemen of any wrong doing, as he discharged and acquitted them.
Justice Abundega in his judgment held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt
He said, “In the circumstances , the court finds the defendant guilty of the charge of causing the death of late Stephen Anakwe on January 13 , 2012 . He is accordingly convicted.
“ Before the court pronounces sentence on the defendant , given that allocutus is not applicable in view of the mandatory nature of the sentence , it needs to be said that the defendant came to his present circumstances on the account of apparent abuse of power and unbridled show of might. ”
He continued: “ In the light of the above , the punishment for the offence of culpable homicide which the defendant has been convicted of is mandatory death sentence .
“ The court does not have discretion to impose any other punishment, much as it may , the law must be fulfilled at all times and in all situations. The defendant having been convicted for the offence of culpable homicide under section 221 of the penal code as charge is sentenced to death , the sentence of the court upon you is that you be hanged by the neck until you be dead .”
The younger brother of the deceased , Mr. Stanley Anakwe , expressed gratitude to God for the verdict , saying, justice had been served after six years of court processes.
The prosecution had said that the police patrol team killed the deceased on that night and buried his remains secretly the next morning without making any effort to contact his family members .