The Lagos State Government on Friday hailed the verdict of the Supreme Court which upheld the judgment of a Lagos High Court sentencing to death by hanging the General Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo (popularly known as Rev. King.
Earlier in the day, the apex court, in a lead judgment delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, dismissed Rev. King’s appeal saying it was lacking in merit.
The court described the facts of the case as akin to “what you see in a horror movie.”
Reacting to the verdict, Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said the judgment was another confirmation of the commitment of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to decisiveness in fighting crime in the state.
“Wherever a crime is committed, no matter how long it takes, the government of Lagos State will ensure that the perpetrators of those crimes face justice eventually,” he declared
He saluted the Supreme Court for what he called “this erudite judgment” and took the opportunity to assure the public that the government will not relent in its fight to make Lagos a safer, secure and more prosperous state.
In December 2015, the Supreme Court had adjourned for judgment after entertaining arguments from the prosecution and the defence in the matter.
Kazeem, who led the prosecution team alongside Idowu Alakija, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and other senior counsel from the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, had urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the judgment of the lower courts.
Rev. King was arraigned on September 26, 2006 before a Lagos High Court on a six-count charge of attempted murder and murder.
He pleaded not guilty to the allegation but was in January 2007 sentenced to death by the then Justice Joseph Oyewole of the Lagos High Court, for the murder of one of his church members, Ann Uzoh.
Justice Oyewole is now a judge of the Court of Appeal in the Calabar division.
The Lagos State Government had said that the convict poured petrol on the deceased and five other persons and that Uzoh died on August 2, 2006 – 11 days after the act was perpetrated on her.
Specifically, Rev. King was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the attempted murder, and death by hanging for the offence of murder.
Dissatisfied, he challenged the verdict before the Court of Appeal in Lagos, but the appeal was thrown out.
“I hereby rule that the prosecution effectively discharged the burden of proof on it,” Justice Fatimo Akinbami had said while reading the judgment. “This appeal is devoid of any basis and accordingly fails.”
Concurring with the lead judgment, Amina Augie and Ibrahim Saulawa, the two other members of the Appeal Court panel of Justices, said: “The judgment of the High Court is hereby affirmed, and the conviction imposed on the appellant (which is death by hanging), is also affirmed.”
Still not satisfied, Rev. King turned to the Supreme Court to invalidate the judgment, a process that came to a screeching halt today.
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