The Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, Nigeria has sentenced a young man to death by hanging on Monday for the murder of a delivery agent in March 2017. Sodienye Mbatumukeke alongside his friends, attacked and killed Chukwuma Eleje, who was assigned to deliver an expensive smartphone they had ordered.
According to reports, Eleje’s body was recovered in a septic tank in the defendant’s apartment on Ada-George Road. The delivery agent was killed after Mbatumukeke refused to pay for the iPhone he purchased on the basis of Pay-on-Delivery, Within Nigeria wrote.
Mbatumukeke, his girlfriend Joy Eluwa and another male friend Divine Excel Naabe were arrested and taken into custody. However, Eluwa, was released later on.
Presiding Judge, Justice I. P. Chigoezi-Igwe found Mbatumukeke guilty on two counts of murder as well as armed robbery and sentenced him to death by hanging.
Chigoezi-Igwe ruled that even though the suspect was rejecting the confessional and extrajudicial statements he earlier made, the evidence presented proved to be weighty enough to convince the court that Mbatumukeke murdered the delivery agent.
The court, however, discharged and acquitted Naabe of murder and robbery charges, citing that the prosecution team did not present convincing evidence against the second defendant.
Items presented as evidence by the prosecution team in course of the trial included a bed sheet, a mortar and pestle, a marine rope and a hand glove, all stained with blood.
The judge described the murder as gruesome and believes the accorded sentence will serve as a deterrent to others.
Meanwhile, Counsel to the defendant, Bonaventure Ugwu, found fault in some of the basis for the conviction. He insisted that they will certainly appeal against the decision of the lower court.
On the other hand, the Director of Public Prosecution, Ibiene Mbano told newsmen that the judgment is a welcome development after almost four years of deliberations into the case trial.