Posted by News Express | 16 April 2015 | 4,011 times
A man in Nigeria’s South-South state of Akwa Ibom held in connection with the murder of his politician father is now breathing the air of freedom for the first time in 11 months.
“Akwa Ibom State longest political prisoner and son of slain outspoken chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Odudu Ukpanah, has been granted bail after 11 months in detention by the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, Abak Judicial Division presided over by Hon. Justice Ezekiel Enang,” activist Inibehe Effiong, who championed and popularised his case, said late this morning in a Facebook post.
Ukpanah’s case took another dimension when Effiong’s Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD) waded into it and gave the Chief Godwin Akpabio-led Akwa Ibom State Government up to January 7, 2015 to discontinue the criminal trial of Odudu Ukpanah or “face a mass protest unprecedented in the history of Akwa Ibom State.”
Odudu Ukpanah had been incarcerated since May 27, 2014 ostensibly on the orders of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, “on a trumped-up charge of killing the very father who sponsored his Masters Degree in the United Kingdom,” COHRD said.
According to the group, “The charge of murder against Mr. Odudu is not only indefensible but clearly inconsistent with the Police Investigation Report dated 25th March, 2014, signed by Sgt. Ibediro Nnamdi, the Investigating Police Officer, which stated that the assassination of the slain outspoken politician, Engr. Albert Jimmy Ukpanah, was politically motivated and also recommended that further investigation be carried out to unravel the REAL KILLERS.
“Hearing in the case commenced only on the 15th December, 2014, about 7 months into his detention. Mr. Odudu’s health condition is deteriorating owing to the absence of the needed facilities in the prisons to cater for his ailment.
“As a human rights organisation devoted to the protection of the rights of the poor and oppressed Nigerians, we in the COHRD will never sit back and watch a despotic, oppressive and corrupt government emasculate innocent citizens with impunity.
“While submitting to the jurisdiction of the court to determine this case on the merits, we insist that the fundamental right of Mr. Odudu to presumption of innocence until proved guilty, fair and speedy trial be respected and upheld.”
•Photo shows Odudu Ukpanah.
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