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19 years after killing his aunt over allegation of witchcraft, convict pleads for pardon

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Nineteen years after he butchered his aunt with a cutlass on the suspicion that she was using witchcraft powers to hinder his progress, a 41-year-old Dele Mokwunye, who is currently serving life sentence for the act, has passionately pleaded for forgiveness.

Mokwunye, a native of Idumuje-Unor in Aniocha North Council of Delta State, was 24 years old back in 2002 when he murdered his childless aunt, with whom he was living at the time.For the callous act, he was initially sentenced to death by hanging by Justice Anthony Akpovi of Ogwashi-Uku High Court in 2006, but on bended knees now, he is begging Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for a state pardon, even as he regrets the act.

His biological father, who passed on some years ago, was one of the prosecuting witnesses that testified against him.The convict, whose death sentence was commuted by a former governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, in 2010, is currently serving his jail term at the Onitsha Prison.

In tears, the murderer begged the Chairman of the state Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy, Chief Patrick Okpakpor, during a visit to the prison, yesterday, with other members of the council, as part of their statutory duties, for total pardon, saying the his action then was a mistake.

Okpakpor, however, told convicts transferred to the Onitsha and Awka Prisons from Delta State that the council lacks the power to order release of inmates from custody, explaining that such power only resides with the governor, as enshrined in Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).He explained that the council’s quarterly prison visitation exercise was to prisons within the state and across the country, where indigenes and non-indigenes alike, convicted by the state High Court are serving their terms.

The team pleaded with authorities of the Awka Prisons to consider the transfer of the three inmates of Delta origin to Onitsha Prison or back to Warri Prison to enable them have access to their family members.Other members of the council on the delegation include its Secretary, Mrs. Uju Monye Kress Njukwuomeni, former members of the state House of Assembly, Mrs. Irene Imilar and Dr. Samuel Efetobor, Mr. John Okiroko and Mr. Paulina Egbon of the Nigeria Prisons.


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