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Akwa Ibom secures convictions, death sentences for 15 kidnappers

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Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Uwemedimo Nwoko, yesterday confirmed that 15 persons had been convicted and sentenced to death for kidnapping in the state.

In a chat with The Guardian in Uyo, he noted that the state’s anti-kidnapping law, which became operational in 2010, prescribed a capital punishment for the offence, adding that the method of execution was at the discretion of either court or the governor.

According to the commissioner, the state government in 2018 secured convictions for six kidnappers and has indicted six others this year, including three policemen.

He said: “ Death penalty for convicted kidnappers is very effective in Akwa Ibom State. In 2018, four abductors were sentenced by High Court 8 presided over by Justice Okon Okon. In 2019, we have seven people convicted in a matter that was tried by Justice Joy Unwana.”

Nwoko observed that the death sentences had deterred others.

He added: “The capital punishment has substantially reduced the number of kidnapping cases we have in Akwa Ibom. If you check the records, the offence is virtually less than two per cent of the total crimes in the state. It is my humble opinion that the punitive measure has deterred prospective abductors.

“But beyond convictions and trials, it must be noted that the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration has deployed modern technologies, including tracking machines, at a very high cost to contain kidnapping in the state.

The commissioner went on: “This has brought more peace to the state. Akwa Ibom is being adjudged the most peaceful state. Even the election petition tribunal that recently completed its sittings in Uyo attested to this when the members affirmed that throughout their six-month stay, they never had any security breach.”

He attributed the feat to the prioritisation of security of lives and property by the governor.

Nwoko further said: “In Akwa Ibom State, we can proudly say that when you kidnap, we will catch you – and that is death sentence. Anybody that still finds kidnapping as business can take it elsewhere but not in Akwa Ibom because when you kidnap, we will track you. The crime is absolutely not an attractive business in the state.”

He implored criminal elements in the state to repent and embrace legitimate means of livelihood.

The commissioner stated that 15 industries had been established in the last four years to check unemployment, youth restiveness and idleness in the state.


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