An Akwa Ibom State High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Odokwo has sentenced a man, Ekerete Ukpong, to death for kidnapping a four-year-old boy.
The 31-year-old, who hailed from Udok Atai community, in the Ikono Local Government Area, was sentenced on Thursday by the court sitting in the Ikot Ekpene LGA of the state.
Delivering judgment which lasted for about one hour, Justice Odokwo said the court found the convict guilty of kidnapping, an offense punishable by death under Section 1 of the Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law 2009.
Justice Odokwo held that the prosecuting counsel notified the court that the victim, Success Kalu, a native of Ohafia in Abia State was kidnapped on September 25, 2015, at Ibiakpan Akananwan, Ikot Ekpene, is yet to be found.
He said kidnapping was prevalent in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, and Nigeria at large, hence all hands must be on deck to rid society of the menace, he noted that “has assumed a hydra-headed dimension.”
The court held that “the convict is taking the punishment alone although records show that he acted in consent with others, who are now at large. I have given due consideration to the plea for mercy and forgiveness by the convict and his learned counsel.”
“The judgment should send a clear signal to all and sundry that the full weight of the law will descend on kidnappers.
“I have gone through Section 1 (2) of the Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law 2009, the section that provides for punishment for the offense of kidnapping. That section provides for only one punishment. I will in this circumstance, follow the law and the law only. The sentence of this court against the convict is death,” Justice Odokwo added.
Before the sentence, the judge changed to a black cap, while the convict wept uncontrollably in the courtroom before he was whisked away by officials of the Nigeria Correctional Service, Ikot Ekpene.