By Clement A.Oloyede
An FCT High Court in Nyanya has sentenced a businessman, Obinna Echianu to death for the robbery and killing of a Uber driver on the Christmas day of 2016. The trial judge, Justice Peter Kekemeke, in his judgment on Thursday, however acquitted Echianu’s co-defendant, Everly Nnorom.
Echianu, 42, was arraigned along with 27-year-old Nnorom, a student, by the police on a five-count charge bordering on armed robbery, unlawful possession of firearms and culpable homicide.
The prosecutor, Donatus Abah had told the court that Echiannu, from Abia State and Nnorom, from Imo State on December 25, 2016 conspired while armed with a Revolver Pistol and 33 live ammunitions (bullets), to rob one Inalegwu Edwin Ali of his Nissan Almera car and one mobile phone at Gosa pedestrian bridge, Airport road, Abuja. He said after both of them successfully robbed Ali, Echianu intentionally shot him in the head causing his death. Echianu was also charged with the offence of unlawful possession of firearms and live ammunition with which he shot the deceased. The charge sheet said the firearms and ammunitions were later recovered from his residence in Abia State on March 21, 2017. The judge said the prosecution was able to prove the 2nd and 3rd count which was against Echianu beyond reasonable doubt by establishing through the evidence all the elements of armed robbery and culpable homicide against him. “He is therefore sentenced to death by hanging on each of the charge,” he held. For Nnorom, Justice Kekemeke held that he was not found guilty as charged because all the evidence of the police on him could not be said to have been proven beyond reasonable doubt. He held that in count one which was criminal conspiracy, there was no concrete evidence by the prosecution pointing to the fact that the duo conspired. The judge further ordered that the Sienna car belonging to the convict together with the Magnum revolver (gun) recovered from him be forfeited to the federal government. He further ordered that the phone of the deceased, which was recovered during investigation, be returned to his family. On the allegation made by the convict during trial that money was withdrawn from his account while in police custody, the judge ordered that the police should investigate the allegation within one month and charge all those involved in the matter to court.