The trial of Hon Friday Frank Obonoh and six others accused of the murder of Mrs. Rosemary Friday Jacob, who was allegedly abducted on July 17, 2009, at No 34 Abak road Uyo and taken to Obonoh’s Ewet Housing residence, where she was said to have been tortured and finally died, has been approved for an accelerated hearing. The matter is now billed for October 30 and 31, 2017 for the prosecution to present its case, while the defence is expected to commence and conclude its evidence on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of November 2017, after which parties would be expected to file their final written address that would culminate to the judgement of the court.
At the resumed sitting of the Uyo High Court, presided over by Hon Justice G. E Archibong on Wednesday October 11, 2017, the state counsel sought to “substitute” the charge preferred against the accused with an amended version, as well as striking out the names of the two police officers who were charged with Obonoh in Charge HU/77c/2017.
The prosecuting counsel told the court that his application for substitution of the charge was in accord with section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Rule, and intended to cure the imperfections in the location of the crime and effect the removal of the two police officers, said to have been exonerated by police investigations into the crime.
The counsel to Friday Obonoh, Mr. Ekpenyong Ntekim, said that he was not going to oppose the application, but felt some apprehension on the effect of the planned substitution to the entire charge.
Hon Justice Archibong remarked that the procedure adopted for the substitution process was faulty.
Taking the hint of the court, the prosecuting counsel applied for the withdrawal of the proposed amended charges and sought and obtained a date to enable him sort out the gray areas in the filing of the substituted charges.
The two police officers whose names have been struck out include Inspector Etim Eyo, attached to E Division of the Nigerian Police, Shelter Afrique and Sgt Emmanuel Francis, attached to the Department of Operations, Uyo, currently on posting to the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly.
Both officers were posted to Friday Obonoh’s FRANKLYN EVERBRIGHT NIGERIA LTD, at Ewet Housing, on guard duties. Both were alleged by police investigative report, to have been implicated in the crime by Friday Obonoh, but after investigation, they were recommended to be released after Obonoh could not positively identify them as the same persons he had allegedly earlier said were part of the crime.
Others standing trial with Friday Obonoh include, Anietie Donatus Idiong, alias Tea-Boy, Edidiong Boniface Nkanga, alias Tunde, Ubong Frank Obonoh, alias Ubon, Godwin Etim Jumbo, all of Oruk Anam local government area of Akwa Ibom state.