…has Justice been served?

As Reported a ago by Mfon Okon

The way unpredictable, unjustifiable and unexplainable things are happening these few days in Akwa Ibom State really makes one wonder what exactly may likely befall a peaceful State like Akwa Ibom and her citizens in general in future. This is because the way power always try to change hands whenever atrocity like “Murder” is committed is becoming very worrisome and unbearable. The fact is that on daily basis, wicked species in form of human beings are developing new methods and tactics just to put an end to another person’s life. Just within an interval of two months, the number of lives lost in the State is becoming a serious issue and cause for concern. It is commonly observed now that If life is not lost to the unknown gunmen, it is either for ritual purposes or Intentional killing. The level of wickedness displayed on daily basis by men and women is becoming very alarming and worrisome to comprehend. Sad enough, someone can just kill another person intentionally and later report to the police that he/she killed unintentionally in a self-defense. The funniest thing is that if care is not taken, after few days, the same person can walk again on the streets as a free man while the victim is six-feet under. What an odd world we are living!

It could be recalled, just few days after a report that one Mr. Uduak Frank Akpan, a suspect who allegedly lured a job seeker, Late Miss Iniubong Ephraim Umoren to his family compound, which he later killed her and buried her in a shallow grave surfaced on social media, another report also immerged that a debtor, Mr. Akpaniko James allegedly killed his creditor, Mr. Ephraim Edet Okon. During our investigation, we were able to understand that Mr. Akpaniko James owed Late Ephraim Edet Okon the sum of Thirty Thousand (N30, 000), when Ephraim approached him to demand for his money, Akpaniko decided to end his life. What was really Akpaniko’s intension to kill Ephraim who lent him money? This is a mystery that is yet to be unfolded. We also discovered that the duo were close friends for years.

The father of the slain creditor, Mr. Edet Okon George, an indigene of Nsit Atai Local Government Area during interaction with our team, said that Akpaniko James intentionally killed his son, and not as accident and kidnapping case he reported to the police. He also said that when Akpaniko killed his son with his car, he drove straight to the police and reported that kidnappers came to his house to Kidnap him in a self-defense struggle, he killed one person unintentionally while trying run away with his car. The father of the Late Twenty-two year old Ephraim who couldn’t hold his tears and frustration while speaking with our team, said that all his hope and Investments made in the life of his Late Son “Ephraim”, are all gone just within few seconds. The bereaved father harped on the fact that he demands justice for his son. He took time and disclosed certain facts and untold truth about alleged murder, “Akpaniko James” who killed his son, Ephraim Edet Okon.

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“Somebody was interested on buying the land I wanted to sale, so I gave my Late Son (Ephraim) the power of attorney on that. While I was sitting outside; here in my compund reading my Bible at about 5:30pm, I saw my son rushing in to pick the power of attorney I gave him, when I asked him what happened, he said that somebody is ready to buy the land, and he left. Around 8pm, I heard my daughter shouting and crying at the same time, she called me so unending and very unusual, when I asked her what happened, she told me that Samuel, the first sone of my younger brother who Ephraim went out together just called and informed her that Akpaniko has killed Ephraim, and that I should rush to Lifecare Clinic, at Udosen Uko Street, Uyo. My brother, I was no more myself. I rushed out to start my car, the car didn’t start, I ran straight to the main road, there, I saw a close neighbour in my Village, he was driving, I begged him to take me to the Clinic which he did.

“When I got there, I saw blood was coming out of son’s nostril and mouth, he was breathing through an oxygen, the Doctor was giving him some first aid treatment. Here, I was totally mad in the Clinic. I shouted and cried. I asked the doctor to transfer him to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital at Abak Road, Uyo. Immediately we arrived Teaching Hospital, I discovered that the oxygen which my son was breathing didn’t move again. I informed the Doctor, the doctor told me that he is gone. I rushed back home to find out from Samuel, Late Ephraim’s cousin what really happened. Samuel said that after him and Late Ephraim had handed over the power of attorney to the person who wanted to buy the land, they left, on their way, his cousin saw Akpaniko in his family compound, he was about going out, he demanded that they should stop for him to collect Akpaniko his money (N30, 000) which he owed him. Samuel said that Late Ephraim told him that he had Information that Akpaniko sold property that worth Nine Million Naira (N9m). We stopped and Late Ephraim waved at Akpaniko who was about driving out, he stopped, the two met and started having conversations.

“Samuel also said that he heard serious argument between two of them in the course of their conversations, so he went out to know exactly what is the problem. Samuel said that immediately he stepped out, he saw how Akpaniko reversed his vehicle, to him, he thought he wanted to park well but Akpaniko set his front car and steering directly toward Late Ephraim and accelerated his car in a very high speed and picked up Ephraim instantly. My Late Son according to his cousin felt on Akpaniko’s bonnet, he drove him away while swindling his steering like bob of a pendulum from left to right just ensure that my son fell on ground, but he didn’t. Samuel said that Akpaniko drove Ephraim like that for over 5 kilometers, at Gibbs Street and Ekpenyong Street Junction, Ephraim finally felt down, Akpaniko matched him and ran away. He ran to straight to the Police and reported that kidnappers came to his house to kidnap him, in a self-defense, he unintentionally killed one of them while trying to drive and escape them. I am telling you the truth that Akpaniko intentionally killed my son. He was not a kidnapper”.

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When asked how his son Late Ephraim met Akpaniko, he said this:

“Personally, I don’t know this young man, ‘Akpaniko’ from anyhere. I saw him with my Late Son in my house once like that and I asked my son who is the person he came home with, he told me that he is a close friend whom he knew right from Monef Nursery and Primary School. The first time Late Ephraim’s mother saw that boy she told Ephraim that her spirit doesn’t like that boy. She advised him never to walk with him again. His mother personally called Akpaniko and warned him not walk with her son again. So, since then we didn’t see them walking together again”.

Also when asked how Akpaniko owed his Late Son (N30, 000), the father said this:

“My Late Son told me that Akpaniko’s mother was sick and was taken to Ibom Specialist Hospital in Uyo, Akpaniko didn’t have money so he asked him to borrow him some money, so my son lent him some money as he demanded. My Late Son also told me that when two of them travelled to Lagos, Akpaniko also borrowed money from him. He told me too that Akpaniko came to UNIUYO Filling Station where he worked as an attendant and scammed his colleagues when they filled his car with petrol worth N15, 000. Ephraim told me that Akpaniko pretended as if he wanted to use ATM Card to pay while there was no money in his account. His colleagues who knew him has his friend reported the case to the Director, N15, 000 out of N20, 000 was deducted from Ephraim’s salary that month. All together what he collected from my Late Son was thirty Thousand Naira (N30, 000). So when my son heard that Akpaniko sold property worth N9m he wanted him to pay N30, 000 he collected from him.

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“After this incident, I personally did investigation to know more about this boy called, ‘Akpaniko James’. I was able to discover that this same boy was the one responsible for the killing of three boys that were drown at Pinnacle Hotel. At Police Area Command at Ikot Akpan Abia, two policemen immediately they saw him, identified him as a serial killer. One IPO said that he was the one that took him and other suspects to court on one murder case they were involved. Another Police Officer said that he was the one who arrested him with a pistol and NSCDC uniform. The Police said that his mother who was NCDSC Officer used Abuja connection and released him. This same Akpaniko was involved in a murder case in the State, his mother sent him out of the country, even outside the country, he was involved in drug pushing and was later deported to Nigeria”.

On how Nigeria Police Force in the State is currently handling the case, when Late Ephraim’s father was asked, he said:

“Presently, the police is very friendly with us on the case. They are really cooperating”.

When asked if Late Ephraim attended any tertiary Institution, the father said:

“Late Ephraim was about to be admitted in the University to study Electrical/Electronic Engineering. He took JAMB and scored very well which that would have given him admission to study his dream course in the University”.

On Friday, colleagues, friends and sympathizers of Late Ephraim Edet Okon organized procession along Nwaniba Road and were chanting solidarity song in quest for justice for Ephraim. Friends later gathered in his family compound with a “Candle Night” to honour their departed friend. Late Ephraim was buried in his father’s compound the next day, Saturday, May 29, 2921.

The bereaved family told our investigation team that they are calling on government, human rights organizations, individuals and the general public to join them in seeking justice for their late twenty-two year old son who was intentionally killed by Akpaniko James. The family also urged members of the public to disregard any insinuation linking the death of Ephraim to kidnapping and accident, while maintained that their son was intentionally killed by Akpaniko with with his car.

When the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force, Akwa Ibom Command, SP. Odiko MacDon was contacted for comments to know if the suspect is still in the Police custody and also to know exactly how the case is been handled, MacDon declined on making comments, according to him, his decline on comments is strictly for security purpose.