After about twelve years of trial, an Abuja High Court, on Thursday, finally sentenced two police officers, Ezekiel Acheneje and Emmauel Baba to death for killing two of the six Igbo traders in Abuja on June 8, 2005, without a lawful order of any court.
The two policemen were found guilty of extra-judicial killing of Augustina Arebun and Anthony Nwokike at the Gaduwa Estate of Abuja and later buried in a shallow grave in Jabi District to cover up their illegal activities.
The chief judge of the court, Justice Ishaq Bello, who delivered judgement in the matter on a nine-count criminal charge brought by the federal government against the six policemen, said the court had no option than to convict the two men on account of their own confessional statement that they shot the two traders upon instruction from a superior officer.
Justice Bello said the action of the two policemen was callous and barbaric because by law, they were supposed to preserve life of innocent citizens.
The judge further said the action of the convicted policemen was condemnable, because there was no evidence that the two traders committed any crime or constitute threat to the policemen at the time they were killed.
Justice Bello said that the killing of the traders was particularly painful because they were arrested by members of the public alive and handed over to the policemen only for the same police to take laws into their hands by summarily executing them.
Justice Bello had dismissed the retraction of the confessional statement by the two convicted policemen during the trial, saying that it is an afterthought that is of no moment, because the statement by them were outright confessional .
However, three other policemen including a deputy commissioner of Police (DCP), Alhaji Danjuma Ibrahim, Othman Abdulsalami and Sadiq Salami, who were charged with conspiracy and culpable homicide contrary to sections 97 and 221 of the Penal Code were discharged and acquitted by the court for want of evidence.