BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI— An Imo State Senior Magistrate Court, sitting in Umuariam Obowo, has sentenced three men, Onyemaechi Osuagwu, Chima Ibe, and Alexander Inyama, to nine years imprisonment without an option of fine on a six-count charge of assault and unlawful possession of firearm.
Handing down the judgment, the magistrate, Mrs. S.K. Kadurumba, found the defendants guilty on five of the six-count charges and sentenced them to three years for each count, which will, however, run concurrently.
The magistrate recalled that the matter was reported to the police sometime in January 2001, following which the suspects were arrested and charged.
The court equally recalled that though eight persons were alleged to have committed the offence, only three were arrested, while five others remained at large.
Recounting the proceedings in court, the magistrate said the three accused men in the company of the others at large, who were recruited by Osuagwu, conspired among themselves and allegedly kidnapped one Christopher Okeke and his son, Livinus Okeke, handcuffed them and forced Livinus inside the booth of their car, while Christopher was held down inside the car by the suspects.
“They were driven away, while armed with a pump action gun, threatening to kill them,” the court recalled.
The suspects had to change their minds and took their victims to a police station, after they discovered that their actions had infuriated the youths in the town”, the court recalled.
Speaking to our Correspondent, the prosecuting counsel, A.S. Kolawole, described the judgment as “a well thought out one”.
The defense counsel, Okey Iwueke, refused about the loss of the case.
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