A Police Officer attached to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department SCIID, Homicide section, Akwa Ibom State, ASP, Kanu Ekpezu has insisted that Uduak Akpan, the alleged killer of Iniubong Umoren, made his confessional statement voluntarily.
Ekpezu in his testimony on Wednesday before the state High Court in Uyo said Uduak Akpan made his statement in the Senior Police Officer’s office and not in an interrogation room as alleged.
Uduak Akpan has been standing trial alongside his father, Frank Akpan and sister, Anwan-Bassey over the gruesome murder of Iniubong.
Ekpezu who appeared in Court as the 9th Prosecution Witness, (PW9), told the Court that the Anti-kidnapping unit, Ikot Akpan Abia Uyo handed over Uduak Akpan, his father Mr. Frank Akpan, first and second accused persons respectively to the SCIID, and both wrote their statement by themselves and voluntarily.
He also told the court that the Anti-Kidnapping Unit also handed over to him a spade, a QLink stabilizer, and a piece of dirty cloth which were recovered from the murder scene as exhibits.
The witness recalled that three other Snr. Police Officers including Inspector Ofonime Archibong were in the SPOs office when he (Uduak Akpan) was writing his statement by himself.
He said, “My Lord, the first accused person,(Uduak-Abasi Akpan) was handed over to me from the Anti-kidnapping unit Ikot Akpan Abia, on 2nd day of May 2021. I received him in the Snr. Police Officers) office. The first accused person made his statement by himself in the SPOs office voluntarily, and not in an interrogation room.
“I gave him my table and chair to sit and write his statement. I gave the first accused person a statement form and pen and asked him to write what happened and how late Iniubong Ephraim Umoren died in his house. I was not with a cane, nor with a machete, a gun, a stick, or an axe”, Ekpezu testified.
The Prosecution Counsel, Mr. Friday Itim tendered the Spade, QLink stabilizer and a piece of cloth, which were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits 9, 10, and 11, respectively by the trial judge, Justice Nkanang.
But, when the prosecution sought to also tender the confessional statement of Uduak-Abasi Akpan, his Lawyer, Mr. Samson Adula raised an objection, arguing that his client did not sign the statement voluntarily.
Upon the insistence of Adula that the statement allegedly written and read by his client should not be admitted in evidence by the court until its voluntariness was determined, Justice Nkanang ordered that a mini-trial be conducted.
During cross-examination, the PW9 told the court that it is not true that the confessional statements made by the first accused person were responses to questions asked by the police officers.
He further testified that the second accused person, Mr. Frank Akpan was not there in the SPOs office when the first accused person made his statement.
When cross-examined in the dock, the first accused person Uduak-Abasi Akpan denied writing the statement and also told the court that he was just meeting ASP Kanu Ekpezu for the first time.
Uduak-Abasi Akpan told the court that he did not see and also did not know the content of the statement, adding that he only signed the statement involuntarily.
“When they brought that sheet of paper which I did not see, or know what was inside, they now asked me to sign it. In order to avoid further violence on myself, I signed it”
Asked if he was blindfolded when he signed the statement, Uduak-Abasi Akpan responded, “I was not blindfolded”
The trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang adjourned the matter till February 8, 2022, for ruling on the mini-trial and for the continuation of hearing.
Iniubong Umoren: Uduak Akpan made voluntary confessional statement – Police tell court