The Supreme Court sitting in Abuja will on February 26, 2016, decide the fate of the General Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Rev. Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, a.k.a Reverend King who challenged the death sentence placed on him by the Lagos High Court. The Apex Court, presided over by Justice Walter Onoghen, adjourned for judgment after hearing arguments from the prosecution and defense counsel.
The Deputy Director of Press & Public Relations of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Bola Akingbade, said in a press statement that the court, presided over by Justice Walter Onoghen, adjourned for judgment after entertaining arguments by the prosecution and the defense in the matter.
Akingbade further said that the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who appeared before the Supreme Court alongside the Director of Public Prosecution and other Senior Counsel in the state, Mrs. Idowu Alakija, urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the judgment of the lower courts.
Rev. Ezeugo was arraigned on a six-count charge of attempted murder and murder which he pleaded not guilty. He was still sentenced to death by Justice Joseph Oyewole of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, on January 11, 2007 for the murder of one of his church members, Miss Ann Uzoh.
According to the Lagos State Government, the accused poured petrol on the deceased and five other persons and lit fire, which led to the death of the said Miss Uzoh on August 2, 2006; 11 days after the act was perpetrated on her.
Rev. King was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the attempted murder and also to death by hanging for murder. Dissatisfied, Ezeugo challenged the verdict before the Court of Appeal in Lagos, but the appeal was thrown out.
I hereby rule that the prosecution effectively discharged the burden of proof on it. This appeal is devoid of any basis and accordingly fails.
“The judgment of the High Court is hereby affirmed, and the conviction imposed on the appellant, (which is death by hanging) is also affirmed,” the appeal court ruled.
Meanwhile, two other members of the panel of Justices, Amina Augie and Ibrahim Saulawa, concurred with the lead judgement but Ezeugo not being satisfied with the verdict, moved up to the Supreme Court, and urged that the judgment be upturned.