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Court sentences policeman to death over unlawful killing

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Nasarawa State High Court, has sentenced to death by hanging a Police sergeant, Vincent Manu for the offence of culpable homicide.

Justice J.G Abundaga gave the decision in a judgment against five accused persons charged with criminal conspiracy to commit the offence by killing one Stephen Anakwe.

The court, however, discharged and acquitted four of the accused of the offence of culpable homicide.

The convict and his colleagues while on patrol in January 14, 2012 flagged down the deceased along Mararaba road, New Nyanya in Karu local government area of the state and shot him to death on the suspicion that he was an armed robber.

During the trial, the convict pleaded self-defence, arguing that the deceased had a pistol, which he pulled out from leather causing him and his colleagues’ apprehension of harm.

But the judge disagrees. According to him, the there were lots of inconsistencies and discrepancies in all the statements of the accused persons to the police and their evidence in court.

“I am of the view that the possibility of the deceased putting the policemen in reasonable apprehension of death or grievous hurt is very remote; and when this is considered also in the light the holes in the evidence of the 2nd accused person (Manu) in support of his defence of self defence, it is out of the moon to expect that the 2nd accused person was in reasonable apprehension of death either to 3rd accused person or himself when he shot the deceased to death.

“In the final analysis. I hold that the defence of self defence is not available to the 2nd accused person. The 2nd accused person is hereby convicted on the charge of culpable homicide punishable with death under section 221 of the penal code.

“It is also important to sound this warning to all policemen whose constitutional duty is to protect lives and properties of the citizenry. It is most unfortunate that most of them do the opposite. Rather than serve as protectors to the citizens, they are more of a threat, especially when armed with a firearm.

“They fail to appreciate the fact that their licence to kill is qualified; to kill only when compelled to or when it is the only option.

It is not the situation in the instant case; and that is why the defence of self defence is not available to the convict.

He must therefore face the maximum punishment.

You are hereby sentenced to death by hanging, and may God have mercy on your soul,” the judge declared.


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