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Attempted murder: Vigilante chairman bags jail term

By Martin Iyonguvihi

The Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Aondover Kaka’an, has convicted and sentenced the chairman of a vigilante group to five years imprisonment without an option of fine.

The convict, Aver Shima, of Adaka village in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State was accused to have ambushed one, Erdoo John Akphena, on 19 July, 2014, along the road and intentionally shot him with a gun on his left leg, an offence punishable under section 230(1) of the Penal Code Cap. 124 Revised Edition (Laws of Benue State) 2004.

Aver Shima was also slammed with an attempted robbery offence while armed with a gun, as well as in illegal possession of a gun punishable under section 2(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap. 515 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010. And section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap. 515 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010, respectively.

Delivering judgement, the Chief Judge said: “The 1st count charge against the Accused is that he intentionally shot PW1 (Erdoo  John Akpehena) with a gun on his leg with the knowledge that death would be probable consequence of his act contrary to section 230(1) of the penal Code Law cap 124 Revised Edition (Laws of Benue State) 2004.

“The medical report, Exhibit C and D establish beyond per adventure that PW1 was shot with a gun. I earlier found as a fact that the accused, it was who shot PW1. In shooting PW1 with a gun, the accused knew or ought to know death would be the probable consequence of his act. I therefore find the accused guilty as charged in count 1,” he said.

On the second count charge against the accused person which is an attempt to commit armed robbery, the Chief Judge found the accused not guilty and as such acquitted him.

“Evidence to establish this (armed robbery) is only coming from PW1 who swore that while he wriggled on the ground in pain because of the gunshot the accused attempted to dispossess him of his cell phone. This evidence is neither corroborated from the circumstances or the evidence of another. I will give the accused the benefit of the doubt and hereby discharge and acquit him on that count,” stated Justice Kaka’an.

The Chief Judge also discharged and acquitted the accused person on the 3rd count charge of being in possession of a gun without a license. He said, “the evidence of the prosecution witnesses did not touch on the proof of this charge and the prosecuting state Counsel did not address me on the charge, instead the defence Counsellor submitted and I agree with him that by the provision of section 3(1) of the Robbery and Firearms.

“Evidence that the accused was not found in possession of any firearms is overwhelming. Failure to find any firearm in possession of the accused means that the second essential ingredient to establish the offence of being in possession of firearms without license is not proved. I therefore, find the accused not guilty on the 3rd Count Charge either and he is discharged and acquitted therefrom,” he said.

The Chief Judge thereafter, proceed to give the sentence after listening to allocutus from both counsels, “I have listened to the plea for leniency made on behalf of the Convict. Prosecution says there is no known record of the previous bad character of the convict. I presume that he is a first offender.

“The essence of punishment is not punitive but corrective. I will be lenient with the convict hoping that after he serves the penalty, he will be a better person and more useful to the society. I accordingly sentenced the convict to a term of imprisonment for five years without option of fine. The period he served in detention on account of this offence shall be reckoned with in calculating the five years,” he ruled.

 

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