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Supreme Court sentence man for murder.

A man, Moavega Igba has lost a 15-year battle to stay alive as the
Supreme Court has held that he must die for killing a man, who stole his
friend’s goat meat.

Igba, was a member of a vigilante group in his community, Gungul in
Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State before he was arraigned,
with Michael Ankpergher, before the state’s High Court in Makurdi.

They were charged with conspiracy and culpable homicide over the
death, on May 19, 2002, of a village petty thief – Kyernum Kervo (a.k.a
Kagh Kpela Hwange) in Gungul, Konshisha Local Government Area, Benue
State.

It is the case of the prosecution that the deceased was said to have stolen the remnant of a goat killed for a funeral ceremony.
He (the deceased) was arrested by some community members and handed
to the defendants to report the matter to the police, but instead, they
(the defendants) resorted to self-help, killed him by setting him
ablaze.

At trial, the owner of the goat meat, who testified as the 1st
defence witness (DW1), Ayakpa Ayo said it was his younger brother, Agena
Mua, who died and he killed the goat for his in-law, who was attending
the funeral.

He said after killing the goat, he decided to smoke some parts in his
compound. The later sneaked into the compound and stole all the meat
and sold some of its.

Ayo said when a search was conducted; it was only the tail of the goat that was found in the deceased’s bag.

The trial court, in its judgment on November 16, 2005, convicted the defendants and sentenced them to death.

Igba appealed to the Court of Appeal in Jos, Plateau State, where the
court, in its judgment on July 9, 2013, in the appeal marked:
CA/J90CA/2008, upheld the trial court’s judgment, a decision Igba
appealed to the Supreme Court in appeal No: SC/528/2013.

The Supreme Court, in a June 16, 2017 unanimous judgment by a
five-man panel, a copy of which The Nation accessed Wednesday, upheld
the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs, who read the lead judgment, described
the appellant’s conduct as among others, bestial and an exhibition of
pristine savagery.

After reviewing all the evidence before the court, Justice Akaahs
said: “There was therefore overwhelming evidence to support the
conviction and sentence of the appellant and his co-accused to death for
conspiracy and causing culpable homicide punishable with death.

“The appellant’s action, with the co-accused, of setting the deceased
ablaze for stealing goat meat, was bestial, and it brought out of
pristine savagery in man, depicting his brutish instinct in a Hobbesian
state of nature.

“I therefore, find no redeeming features in this appeal and it is accordingly dismissed.

“I further affirm the conviction and sentence of death passed on the
appellant for conspiracy and culpable homicide, contrary to sections 97
and 221 of the Penal Code, which the lower court entered against the
appellant in its judgment delivered on July 9, 2013 in CA/J/90CA/2008,
dismissing his appeal against the judgment of the Benue State High
Court, Makurdi delivered on November 16, 2005,” Justice Akaahs said.

Justices Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, Mary Peter-Odili, Olukayode Ariwoola
and Amina Admu Augie, who were also on the panel, agreed with the lead
judgment.

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