A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has sentenced three persons to death by hanging over the kidnap and murder of former Director of Finance in the Rivers State Ministry of Health, Charles Nwogu.
The three persons, Andy Clement, Goddfrey Hanson and Chima Nwokoma, were facing nine counts of conspiracy and murder. They were sentenced after 11 years of litigation.
Two other suspects, Obinna Okereofo, Ogechi Innocent were discharged and acquitted from the charges.
The presiding Judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, in his judgement held that the trio kidnapped and murdered Charles Nwogu at his residence in Rumuokoro, Obio/Akoor Local Government Area of Rivers State in 2012.
Justice Enebeli said the prosecution was able to judiciously prove the case of conspiracy, kidnapping and murder charges brought against the three convicts.
The trial judge, while sentencing them after they were found guilty in counts 1, 2 of conspiracy and counts 3, 4, 6, and 7, said his hands were tight and must do what the law demanded in line with Sections 401 and 402 of the State Administration Justice Law.
According to him, the convicts contravened Section 1(1) of the state Anti-kidnapping Law as well as Section 319 of the Criminal Code, adding that the various laws stipulated hanging by death upon conviction.
The trial judge ruled that the prosecution failed to provide substantial evidences in the information filed against the two discharged defendants on conspiracy and kidnapping charges.
He said the prosecution relied on mere suspicion and not backed up with credible evidence that could prosecute them.
Justice Enebeli further struck out charges brought against the 4th defendants, late Rowland Azuka, who reportedly died at the Correctional Centre during the trial of the matter.
C.N Nathaniel, lawyer to one of the convicts, Chima Nwokoma, told newsmen that he would appeal the judgement.