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(2018) LPELR-44967(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 6th day of July, 2018


Before Their Lordships

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMINA ADAMU AUGIE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


EMMANUEL EZE - Appellant(s)


THE STATE - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri.
The facts of the case are that the Appellant was one of the "Bakassi Boys", leaders and members of the Abia State Vigilante Group known as "Bakassi', who were convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of two persons, Chukwudozie Nwachukwu and Okechukwu Maduekwe, and the Appeal to the Supreme Court turns on the issue of whether the conviction for murder should be substituted with conviction for manslaughter instead.
The facts as established at the Abia State High Court was that on 9/7/1999, the Appellant and three other Bakassi Boys, namely, Ezeji Oguikpe, Stanley Azogu and Adiele Ndubuisi, were invited from Aba, where the said group was based to Government House, Umuahia, by Ndukwe Okereke, a State Security Service official.
At the Government House, they met the then Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Elekwachi Nwaogbo, who instructed the S.S.S. official, Ndukwe Okereke, to take them, Bakassi Boys, to the Safari Restaurant at Umuahia, where they confronted the people they met with dangerous weapons, including cutlasses, knives and guns. In the process, the said two deceased persons, were killed and their mutilated bodies dragged to the main road, where their remains were set ablaze by the said Bakassi Boys.
The Abia State High Court found the Appellant, who was the second Accused, guilty of the offence of murder, and convicted and sentenced him to death accordingly. The Court of Appeal was also convinced, after reviewing the evidence, that he was guilty of the offence of murder, and affirmed the High Court's decision. Further aggrieved, the Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Court determined the appeal on this sole issue it couched as follows:
"Whether the Appellant was rightly convicted for murder or not? "

On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.

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