Uduak Akpan on Monday pleaded guilty to the murder of Iniubong Umoren, the Akwa Ibom woman who was lured out of her home with a fake job interview.
He was arraigned before a State High Court judge, Bennet Illaumoh, in Uyo.
Miss Umoren was raped and killed in April in the outskirts of Uyo by Mr Akpan who the police in Akwa Ibom State described as a serial rapist.
Her remains were buried in a shallow grave in Mr Akpan’s family house where the crime took place.
Mr Akpan, however, pleaded not guilty to the rape charge.
Dressed in a peach-coloured caftan, the 20-year-old Mr Akpan looked calm and confident in the dock.
His father, Frank Akpan, who is the second defendant in the case, pleaded not guilty to charge of accessory after the fact to murder.
An accessory-after-the-fact is someone who is believed to have assisted another person who has committed a crime to evade justice.
The Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Uko Udom, SAN is leading the prosecution team.
After Mr Akpan was docked and the charges read to him, it was discovered that he had no lawyer to represent him.
A lawyer, Emms Ekongson who announced his appearance for the second defendant (Mr Akpan’s father) told the court that he was holding a brief for the second defendant, Mr Akpan Snr only.
The judge had to appoint a lawyer, Sampson Adulla, the Akwa Ibom State coordinator of the Legal Aid Council, to represent the first defendant.
The Legal Aid Council is a statutory body which provides free legal services to low-income Nigerians who are unable to hire a lawyer.
Mr Adulla prayed the court to enter a not-guilty plea for the first defendant, even though he had pleaded guilty, since he was charged for a capital offence.
The judge acceded to the prayer and entered a not-guilty plea for Mr Akpan before adjourning the case to August 18.
Why we aren’t prosecuting the third suspect – Akwa Ibom Government
Meanwhile, the state Attorney General, Mr Udom, while fielding questions from reporters outside the courtroom said the state government was prosecuting only two suspects because the evidence before them can sufficiently cater for the two.
Mr Udom was responding to concerns raised by reporters on the absence in court of the third suspect that was linked to the case.
“In criminal prosecution we rely on the evidence that is brought from the investigation by the official investigators of the state,” he said.
“We’ve gone through all the investigation reports by all the security operatives that handled the investigation.”
“Currently, the two people that have been arraigned today and charged are the people that we have sufficient evidence to prosecute them.”
“There has been so much in the social media and we don’t prosecute cases based on information on the social media but by what official investigating authority present by way of fact and evidence.”
He, however, said that if the state has evidence on the culpability of another person in connection with the case the person will be charged and prosecuted.
“In criminal prosecution there is no time bar for criminal culpability. If by tomorrow or ten years from now evidence comes out that can tie anybody who is not charged today in this crime, that person will be charged and prosecuted to the end,” he said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...