The Akwa Ibom State High Court has sentenced one Okon Ebenge to death by hanging for killing his neighbour, Eteyen Ekong, over N80,000.
Justice Nsemeke Daniel, the presiding judge, passed the death sentence on Ebenge on Wednesday.
Ebenge had committed the crime in January 2016 when he conspired with his son, Akaninyene, to kill 37-year-old Ekong.
The deceased was said to have given Ebenge N80,000 in 2013 to construct a container shade for his business. Ebenge, however, did not keep to the end of the bargain.
His failure to deliver the job and refusal to refund the money prompted the deceased to storm his residence on the fateful day.
Ebenge would, according to the court, conspire with his son, who is now at large, to beat Ekong to death.
A neighbor of the deceased, Abednego Owo, who was the third prosecution witness, told the court that he tried to rescue the victim, but was prevented by Ebenge and his son who threatened to kill anyone who entered their house.
In his judgement, Justice Daniel said, “The law is trite that when any person aids the commission of an offence by being at the scene not as an onlooker but with the purpose of assisting any other person in committing the offence; he is equally guilty of the offence as a principal.”
He ruled that the death of the deceased was accelerated by Ebenge who prevented sympathisers from taking the deceased to a hospital while he was still breathing even though unconscious.
“In my view, the specific act of using a machete to chase away people from entering his compound to rescue the victim was a manifestation of his intention to ensure that the man was dead,” Daniel said.
He sentenced Ebenge to death for murder on count one, while on count two, he was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment.