Chief sentenced to death by hanging for ordering the killing of boy accused of wizardry

An 82-year-old chief who has 12 wives and 60 children has been sentenced to death by hanging for ordering and supervising the killing of a boy who was accused of wizardry.

According to, Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State High Court, presided over by Justice Edem Akpan, handed the sentence to Chief Essien Matthew Odiong on Friday, August 12, 2022,

He was the Village Head of Efen Ibom in Ika Local Government Area of the State before his trial and the eventual sentencing.

The octogenarian reportedly stood for trial on four counts of conspiracy, directing unlawful trial by ordeal, stealing of the motorcycle, and murder of the owner, one Udoma Udo Ubom.

The court found him guilty of administering some chemical substance to the deceased, causing his death on April 26, 2017.

“The admission of the process of trial and the decision of Efen Clan Council to administer oath on the deceased, has logically brought to the conclusion that a plastic bath on the head of the late Udoma Akpan Udo Ubom and injecting some chemical substance through a syringe into his buttocks by the village head, caused the death of the deceased,” Justice Edem Akpan ruled.

The brother of the late Udoma Udo Ubom had accused him of wizardry and then reported him to the Village Head.

Chief Essien Matthew Odiong summoned the Ubom before his Council of Elders, where he was made to swear an oath to prove his innocence.

It was after the swearing of the oath that the Ubom was injected with the deadly substances under the auspices of the chief.

“Having sensed the consequences of his criminal activity, the monarch escaped from the Village since 2017 and returned in 2019, when he was arrested by the Police.

“The accused had voluntarily admitted that he sat at Efen Clan Council with five other village heads and members of the Clan Council to try the deceased on the allegation of witchcraft, and the law has relieved the prosecution of the burden to prove the offence of conspiracy,” the court stated.

Chief Essien Matthew Odiong, per the court’s judgement, must be hanged to death as the maximum punishment for murder.

The sentence also includes three years of imprisonment for conspiracy with the elders of his council, who are said to be at large, to commit the crime, as well as seven years of imprisonment for directing an unlawful trial by ordeal.

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