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Appeal Court Upholds Death Sentence On Rev. King

The Court of Appeal, Lagos, on Friday upheld the judgment of a Lagos High Court which convicted the General Overseer, Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo and sentenced him to death.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Ezeugo, popularly known as Rev. King, who was charged with six-counts bordering on attempted murder and murder, was convicted by Justice Joseph Oyewole on Jan. 11, 2007.

Oyewole sentenced Ezeugo to death by hanging, for the murder of a church member, Ann Uzoh.

Ezeugo was said to have poured petrol on the deceased for an offence which he classified as "acts of fornication," and set her ablaze.

The convict, through his counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, had, however, filed an appeal on Nov. 5, 2012 raising a plethora of issues for determination and urging the court to upturn the verdict of the lower court.

Justice Fatima Akinbami, in a lead judgment at the appellate court, held that all issues raised by Ezeugo in his appeal, failed.

``This appeal is devoid of any basis and accordingly fails.

``The judgment of the High Court is hereby affirmed, and the conviction imposed on the appellant, is also affirmed" Akinbami ruled.

She said that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and faulted an alibi raised by Ojo that the appellant was not at the scene of the offence.

According to her, the evidence of some prosecution witnesses pinned the appellant to the scene of the offence, throwing out arguments by Ojo that the evidence was tainted.

Akinbami said that even the evidence of a tainted witness is admissible, once it is material to the case, noting that all evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses were unanimous.

She said that they all pointed to the fact that the appellant actually used matches and petrol to set the deceased ablaze.

``Each of the prosecution witnesses gave evidence as to how the victim was beaten and burnt by the appellant.

``To my mind, there is no contradiction whatsoever and even if there were, it is immaterial, since all the witnesses were unanimous," she said.

According to Akinbami, the evidence of some doctors also showed that the deceased died as a result of the burns.

She held that the trial judge was at liberty to write his judgment in his own style, provided it sets out the issue for determination, shows a clear understanding of the facts as stated and arrives at a logical conclusion.

The judge condemned the attitude of some pastors toward their congregation, noting that the circumstances surrounding the death of the deceased were rather bizarre.

``It is so devastating how some men of God will give out to their congregation scorpion, instead of fish, and stone, instead of bread.

``It is indeed sad and unfortunate," Akinbami said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justices Amina Augie and Ibrahim Saulawa consented to the judgment.

NAN reports that the appellant’s counsel informed the court of his intention to challenge the verdict at the Supreme Court. (NAN)

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Pastor Docked Over Alleged N725, 000 Visa Fraud

A 43-year-old pastor, Nehemiah Elijah, who allegedly obtained N725, 000 under pretence, was on Friday charged before an Ikeja Magistrates' Court in Lagos.

Elijah, who resides at No. 13 Edom St., Muwo, Ojo, Lagos, is facing a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraud.

The prosecutor, Insp. Okoi Edet, told the court that the accused had on May 5, 2011 at Ojo Area, Lagos, obtained the sum of N725, 000 from one Mr Cyprian Ezegbo.

Edet said Elijah received the money from Ezegbo, under the pretext of obtaining a Qatar Visa for his son.

The prosecutor said that the accused, with some others now at large, did not honour the agreement.

He said the offences contravened Sections 285, 312 and 409, of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2011.

The Magistrate, Mrs Dan Oni, granted the accused bail in the sum of N200, 000 with two sureties in like sum.

She adjourned the case till Feb. 19 for mention. (NAN)

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National Orientation Agency Intensifies Campaign On Peace, Security

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) said it had intensified campaign on peace and security in the country.

Fielding questions from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, the Director-General of the Agency, Mr Mike Omeri, said the agency would ensure that Nigerians, irrespective of their class and status, lived in peace.

He said, ``The Do the right thing campaign'', being conducted by the agency, followed the need to restore value and attitudinal change in Nigeria.

Omeri attributed the lingering security problems witnessed in the country to ``erosion of values'', adding that Nigerians should resist people who were bent on perpetrating violence.

He said the recent traditional rulers meetings held in Ekiti and Katsina were borne out of the desire to curb violence in the country.

The Director-General described the roles of traditional rulers as `germane'' to the realisation of peace and restoration of security to their domain.

Omeri said the objective of the zonal peace forum in the South West and North East was to integrate traditional institutions, which were the closest to the people in resolving security issues.

He said NOA would partner with security agencies to ensure that the ``Do the right thing campaign'' programme succeeded.

Omeri said that the agency was committed to restoring and upholding values. (NAN)

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Court Orders Release Of Nwosu’s International Passport For Renewal

A Lagos High Court in Ikeja on Friday granted the application by a former Managing Director of Finbank Plc, Okey Nwosu, seeking for the release of his international passport for renewal.

Justice Lateefat Okunnu ordered the release of the passport while ruling on the application filed by Nwosu's counsel, Mr O. Kalu.

The Judge, however, directed that both the new and old international passports be returned to the custody of the court's Registrar after the renewal.

Nwosu and three former directors of Finbank Plc, Dayo Famoroti, Danjuma Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike, were charged for allegedly stealing N10.9 billion belonging to the bank.

Following the ruling, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) called one of its investigative officers, Mr Emmanuel Damudu, to testify against the defendants.

Damudu told the court how N18 billion was debited from Finbank's sundry account and used to purchase bank shares for seven fictitous companies.

The witness, who was led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said the transactions were carried out on the instructions of the defendants.

He said the companies were Ferbond Real Estate Ltd., Busch Modern Machine Tools Ltd., Tyco Food Processing Ltd., Omdidem Ltd., Eureka Ventures Ltd., Coastal Lake Ltd. and Cannon Investment Ltd.

He said some of the shares purportedly bought for the companies were later allocated to the defendants and other directors, who paid for them.

The case was then adjourned till Feb. 26 for continuation. (NAN)

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