Relatives of convicts wept uncontrollably on Wednesday as the Federal High Court sitting in PortHarcourt, Rivers State, sentenced to death by hanging three of the nine persons accused of kidnapping and murder of a former local government official.
Some of their female relatives rolled on the ground, crying and begging for leniency as the convicts were being driven out of the court premises by prisons officials.
One of the ladies crying uncontrollably said, “God, please, intervene and save my brother. He is the only son in our family.”
The three condemned persons were found guilty of kidnapping and killing one of their victims, Deyspring Braide, a former head of Local Government Administration of Asari-Toru Local Government Area.
Two others, including the three condemned persons, were also jailed for life and 70 years, respectively, on different counts by the court.
The court commended the Department of State Security for its thorough investigations and prosecution of the matter.
Those condemned to die by hanging on count six for the kidnapping and murder of Braide were Kingsley Chuku, Uchendu Elindam and Obinna Chuku.
The three convicts, including Godknows Nwokem and Promise Jim, were jailed for life on count two for possession of weapons, kidnapping of a consultant of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Dr. Alexander Akani, and receiving N1.6million ransom to grant him freedom.
The court presided over by Justice James Omotosho also sentenced the five convicts to 20-year jail term with no option of fine on count one for conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.
Omotosho further sent them to prison for 30 years on counts three and four for illegal possession of firearms listed as AK47 rifle, pump action, dane gun, six rounds of ammunition, two empty cartridges and 14 live cartridges.
But Omotosho, who convicted them on different sections of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013, discharged and acquitted Henry Elebiga, Destiny Wosu, Stanley Wosu and Elizabeth Chuku.
The DSS carried out the investigations that led to the arrest of the convicts described as notorious kidnappers terrorising the state.
The gang abducted Akani from his residence along Aluu Rod, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area on June 29, 2017, and released him after collecting ransom.
Following the submissions of the DSS lead lawyer, C.S Eze, the court ruled that the convicts were responsible for the kidnapping and killing of Braide.