The people of Idung Ntuk Umah in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have been celebrating over the sentencing of one Udobong, Stephen Adiahaunwa, to death by the Akwa Ibom State High Court.
Udobong, aged 48, a father of two and brother to the late Village Head of Idung Ntuk Umah, Gabriel Adiahaunwa, was sentenced by Justice Gabriel Ette after he was convicted on a four-count charge of conspiracy, armed robbery and terrorism.
The particulars of the case show that Udobong Stephen Adiahaunwa, who was earlier banned from his village because of his atrocities, stormed the community on December 29th, 2009, with his gang dressed like SARS Police operatives and whisked away one Friday Jackson Joe in a Hilux vehicle to an unknown location. The victim has not been found to date.
Again, on February 28, 2019, Udobong, the primary five dropouts, was said to have brought cultists in police uniforms to his community and robbed the treasurer of the village, Mr. Ediomo Sunday Udoidio, of N970,000, the proceeds from the sales of the community palm fruits.
On April 29, 2021, he again imported cultists in army uniforms and robbed the Village Palm Estate treasurer, Mr. Ubong William Henry, of N850,000, the money the Idung Ntuk Umah realised from sales of palm fruits.
It is also on record that on June 5, 2020, the convicted armed robber returned to his village with members of his secret cult and forcefully initiated teenagers into the group, forcing many to flee from the village while others continued to live in fear.
Udobong was arrested and detained at Akwa Ibom State Police Command’s Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, but was released, prompting the community to petition the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 6 Headquarters, Calabar.
In June 2020, the convict was arrested by operatives of the Zonal Criminal Investigation Department, Zone 6 Headquarters, but was granted bail, and he disappeared with his surety.
While in his hideout, he sued the complainant and the police for breaching his fundamental rights but was rearrested on December 4, 2020, and charged in court.
In a one-hour judgement, the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Ette, found Udobong Stephen Adiahaunwa guilty of conspiring with his gang members now at large and robbing his victims.
He thereafter sentenced him to death by hanging.
“From the totality of my findings, I find as a fact that the prosecution has proved counts 1, 2, and 3 against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt.
“I find the defendant guilty and convict him accordingly,” the judge declared.
The judgement attracted the complainants and other indigenes of Idung Ntuk Umah, who filled the courtroom to the brim, forcing the authorities to lock the entrance to the court premises.
The Idung Ntuk Umah community celebrated the condemnation of a man they described as “a terror and a nightmare to his community” and applauded Justice Gabriel Ette for his judgement, which they said had restored the confidence of the people in the judiciary.