Court admits confessional statements of defendants Davidson Iriekpen
A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere was Thursday told that the alleged murderers of a Facebook lover, Cynthia Osokogu, had it all planned few days before she was killed. How Olisaeloka Ezike (second defendant) went to Agboju Market at the instance of Okumo Nwabufo (first defendant) and purchased chain and celotape, which they used in ‘killing’ Cynthia was also disclosed by a prosecution witness, Joseph Edo. Led in evidence by the state Attorney General, Ade Ipaye, Edo told the court that “It is the defendants’ stock-in-trade to invite women to hotels, drug and rape them.”He told the Justice Olabisi Akinlade-led court that Okumo and Ezike had it in mind to kill Cynthia on her arrival in Lagos.
“From my investigation, I discovered that the first defendant sent the second defendant to Agboju Market to buy the instruments they used for the operation – Chain and Celotape- few days before Cynthia was killed.
“The second defendant (Ezike) after getting the items and while still at the market, used his phone to snap them and forwarded the picture to the first defendant (Nwabufo).”He equally sent Nwabufo a text message from his phone asking if ‘this was the chain and celotape you asked me to buy?’”Nwabufo replied Ezike that it will be okay for the job. The messages are all in their phones,” Edo said. Continuing, the witness told the court that he also discovered that the third defendant, Orji Osita, who is a pharmacist, aided the primary suspects to commit the crime by supplying them the Rohypnol used in subduing the deceased before they carried out the killing.
He said the fourth defendant, Nonso Ezike dishonestly received Cynthia’s Blackberry phone from his elder brother who is the second defendant.”It was discovered that it was not the first phone he (Nonso) bought from the second defendant and he has knowledge of the first and second defendants stock-in-trade.”They specialize in bringing in ladies into hotel room, enticing them with one or two things and then rape them,” Edo said.
Earlier, Justice Akinlade admitted in evidence, the confessional statements and video evidence made at the Festac Police Station on August 20, 2012 by Nwabufo and Ezike admitting the murder. In a ruling delivered on the admissibility of the statements made by the first and second defendants, after they alleged that their statements were gotten under duress, Justice Akinlade held that their allegations before the court were concocted as there was no evidence to buttress their claims.
She said the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt the statements were voluntarily made, adding that from her examination of the confessional statements, the handwritings of the defendant did not show they were under torture to write them.”The defendants were questioned in an open place and were also asked by the Area Commander if they made their statements voluntarily, which they attested in the affirmative.”Moreover, from the video evidence, the defendants looked well and untortured. It was when the Area Commander realized their narration was the same as contained in their confessional statements that he requested for a cameraman to video them.”I hereby rule that the prosecution has proven its case in the trial-within-trial to determine the admissibility of the confessional statements made by the first and second defendants on August 20, 2012 at the Festac Police Station were voluntary.”I hereby admit the confessional statements and video evidence made by the defendants and tendered by the prosecution as exhibits,” she held. The matter has been adjourned to March 13 for continuation of trial.