The supreme court has dismissed the appeal filed by Rev. Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, general overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly (better known as Reverend King), challenging the judgment of a Lagos high court sentencing him to death by hanging.
In his lead judgment, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, said the facts of the case were “like what you see in a horror movie”. He added that the appeal lacked merit.
The court upheld the judgment of the lower court senten?cing him to death.
In December 2015, the apex court, presided over by Justice Walter Onoghen, adjourned for judgment after entertaining arguments from counsel to prosecution and defence in the matter.
Adeniji Kazeem, Lagos state attorney-general and commissioner for justice, appeared before the supreme court alongside Idowu Alakija, director of public prosecution and other senior counsel in the state, urging the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the judgment of the lower courts.
Ezeugo was arraigned on September 26, 2006 on a six-count charge of attempted murder and murder. He pleaded not guilty to the allegation but was sentenced to death by the then Justice Joseph Oyewole of the Lagos state high court, Ikeja, on January 11, 2007, for the murder of one of his church members, Ann Uzoh.
Justice Oyewole is now a judge of the appeal court sitting in the Calabar division. The Lagos state government had said that the convict poured petrol on the deceased and five other persons and that Uzoh died on August 2, 2006 – 11 days after the act was perpetrated on her.
Specifically, Ezeugo was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the attempted murder, and death by hanging for the offence of murder.
Dissatisfied, he challenged the verdict before the court of appeal in Lagos, but the appeal was thrown out.
’’I hereby rule that the prosecution effectively discharged the burden of proof on it. This appeal is devoid of any basis and accordingly fails,” Justice Fatimo Akinbami had said while reading the judgment.
“The judgment of the high court is hereby affirmed, and the conviction imposed on the appellant (which is death by hanging), is also affirmed.”
Amina Augie and Ibrahim Saulawa, the two other members of the panel of Justices, concurred with the lead judgment. Again, Ezeugo not being satisfied with the verdict, approach the supreme court, seeking invalidation of the judgment.