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Five men sentenced to death for homicide in Benue



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Justice T.A. Kume of the Benue State High Court, Makurdi, on Wednesday, sentenced five men to death by hanging for culpable homicide.

The quintet – Terna Zwave, Jonathan Gbajime, John Bur, Gabriel Ianna, and Kwaghgba Zaki – were arraigned by the state government before a magistrate court in Makurdi in 2021.

They were charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal trespass, mischief, and culpable homicide punishable under sections 97, 349, 329, and 222 of the penal code laws of Benue, 2004.

The prosecution said the men conspired, trespassed on land belonging to one Oliver Jato, and cut down trees in order to make charcoal.

According to the prosecution, one Biija died in the ensuing scuffle after the convicts were confronted by men in the area.

The case was later transferred to the High Court following advice by the state’s Director of Public Prosecution.

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When the case came up, Zwave pleaded guilty while all others pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The defendants testified for themselves without calling any witnesses while the prosecution called seven witnesses to prove its case.

The prosecution counsel, R.B.N Amenger in his final written address submitted that the rest defendants’ not guilty plea was only a mere denial.

The defence counsel, D.U. Liam in his final written addresses said the prosecution had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt to warrant conviction of the defendants.

In his ruling, the judge held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts.

Kume said the burden of proof rests on the defense counsel which he failed to achieve.

He, therefore, sentenced the men to death by hanging on the charges

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