Senior prison, custom officers bag 7 years imprisonment for kidnapping

Mr.  V.C Isiguzo, Chief Magistrate Grade I in the Owerri Judicial District of Imo State has finally jailed Mr. Anthony Uzoma Ejiogu and Miss Martina Ejiogu both Senior Officers of Nigeria Prison Kaduna and Customs Service (Ibadan) with two of their siblings Mr. Basil Ejiogu and Miss Maureen Ejiogu for Seven years imprisonment for conspiracy and kidnapping of their cousin Mr. Donald Ejiogu (Dee Doo) who has been declared missing by Imo State Police Command since 25th April, 2002.
The report which was well celebrated in the media then, According to Isiguzo in his 17 paged judgment dated 30th March, 2017 as Commissioner of Police Vs Anthony Ejiogu and three other of the Suit Number OW/495C/2002 and co-signed by Mrs. Kelechi Linus-Eleazu, the Courts Assistant Chief Registrar that “the totality of the circumstantial evidence against the accused persons has raised the case much higher than suspicion”.
It sufficiently proved the case against the accused persons, it is not only that they threatened Donald Ejiogu, they were disputing over the house he built and they kidnapped him because they desperately wanted to take his house.
The evidence sufficiently proved the case beyond all reasonable doubt. The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming and it has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it was the accused persons that kidnapped Donald Ejiogu” she stated.
The Chief Magistrate also said that “The court is convinced that there is no co-existing circumstance that can weaken the inference drawn and therefore have no hesitation in holding that the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming and the prosecution has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt.
In the circumstance, I hold that each of the accused persons is found guilty of kidnapping Donald Ejiogu.
On the charge of conspiracy and the substance offence, there is no requirement in law that there must be apart from the evidence in support of the commission of the substantive offence being independent evidence in support of the charge of conspiracy”. She noted.
She further stated that “in the circumstance, I hold that the accused persons did the act complained of in the company of towards the common end.
In the circumstance, each of the accused persons is found guilty and accordingly convicted of conspiracy. In count two, each of the accused persons is found guilty and accordingly convicted of kidnapping “she assured.
In given her final judgment and sentence, Isiguzo noted that the counsel to the accused pleaded for leniency but for the first count, each of the accused persons is sentenced to two years imprisonment and for the second count that each of the accused persons is sentenced to five years imprisonment but however, the terms of imprisonment are to run concurrently.
As the four accused persons are currently in safe custody of Owerri Prison, there are indications that they are planning to appeal against the judgment of the Chief Magistrate Court through Barr R.C. Ononuju, their counsel.
However, it is pertinent to recall that both the accused and the prosecutor are cousins in Iwuoha family of Umudurunwenne in Umuelekocha – Umueze Ogwa in Umueze/Abazu Ogwa Autonomous Community in Mbaitoli Council Area of Imo State.
The bone of contention is a six bedroom apartment built by Mr. Donald Ejiogu between the late 80s and early 90s at his ancestral compound through his Uncle Late Mr. Christian Ejiogu who inadvertently was the father of the accused persons. It is on record that one of the accused persons – Mr. Basil Ejiogu was serving Mr. Donald Ejiogu, a crayfish seller at Eke Ukwu Owerri then and Mr. Basil was a conduit through which Mr. Donald sent money and materials to his late uncle Mr. Christian who supervised and built the House on his behalf.
Unfortunately, after the death of their father in 1998, the accused persons conspired to claim ownership of the house despite Mr. Donald’s economic contributions to their well-being but the entire family, kindred and village judged and objected to their conspiracy and cautioned them vehemently.
Severally, they threatened to kidnap and kill their first cousin – Donald if he refused to relinquish ownership of the house to them, usurping his gentility and Christian beliefs as a weakness.
True to their threat, Mr. Donald a staunch member of Holy Rosary Society, Catholic Charismatic Movement and Bible Instructors Union among other Pious Societies in St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Owerri, on 25th April, 2002, as usual, went to Warri to buy crayfish and till date has being declared missing by Imo State Police Command, thus leaving Mrs. Elizabeth Ejiogu, the wife of Dee Doo as he was properly called and five Children in abject poverty, hardship and suspense.
It was the action and inactions of the accused persons that gave them away as the family, entire kindred and village declared them prime suspects and subsequently as accused based on the outcome of investigations.
The entire community was agog as the 15years legal battle ended with the expected justice.
See also  Minister of information congratulates newly-elected APRA executives