The State will line up a total of 8 witnesses against the former transition chairman of Ukanafun Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Barr Abasiono Jackson Udomfu, and 4 other accused persons in the murder of Mr Ime Willie Atakpa – his former Secretary. The prosecution will additionally tender 8 documents.
This disclosure was made by the Assistant Director of Public Prosecution, F. J. Itim Esq during pre-trial conference. Itim, who is leading the prosecution explained that the state intends to call the 8 witnesses in 8 trial days before closing its case.
Those standing trial for Atakpa’s murder, as listed in the charge sheet, are: (1) Godwin Daniel Ikpe (alias one-man-chop) (2) Aniefiok Eseme Etukudo (alias Bar Beach) (3) Saturday Etim Isong (alias Saty) (4) Barr Abasiono Jackson Udomfu (5) Akaninyene Sunday Iwok.
Ekpenyong Ntekim Esq, a former Attorney General of the state, is leading the defense of Barr Udomfu who is the 4th accused in suit no HU/23c/2017. Ntekim said said he expect the case to be heard from day to day. He informed that the defense intends to to call 4 witnesses in 2 trial days, subject to developments in the course of the trial.
Counsel to the 1st to 3rd accused will call 2 witnesses in 2 trial days; and will tender no document, while the 5th accused will also call 2 witnesses in 2 trial days, with no intention to tender any doccument.
Justice Ime Umanah, of Ukanafun High court, now sitting at High Court 2, Abak due to security concerns, ruled to refuse application by counsel to 1st to 3rd accused, who wanted the “alias” attached to their names dropped, as, according to him, they are uncomfortable with it since it is not their real names.
Opposing the application, F J Itim Esq for the State, inform the court that some of the witnesses the state intends to call only know them by the “aliases”. He pointed out that even in their statement to the police, they gave their “alias” without objection.
He insisted that the state will be prejudiced if the application is granted and the “aliases” removed as they had already taken plea on the first count charge of conspiracy without objecting.
Meanwhile, our investigation indicates that the case may be transfered, again, to Uyo – the state capital, due to lingering security concerns.