The killing of the boy, a hawker, jolted Owerri, stoking riot and destructions by enraged residents that lasted for days in the city.
In her lead judgment, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, held that the circumstantial evidence relied on to convict and sentence the appellant by the lower courts was not sufficient.
“It must be restated here that the appellant was charged with murder and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt that it was the act of the appellant that caused the death of the deceased.
“The appellant does not have the burden to prove his innocence. The lower court held that the defence of the appellant raised a lot of suspicions.
“The law is well settled that suspicion, no matter how grave, cannot take the place of proof.”
She said that the assumption of the lower courts that because the appellant worked in the hotel for 17 years, he should have known who owned the farm that Okoronkwo was buried in, was wrong.
“Suspicion cannot take the place of legal proof. That the appellant worked in the hotel for 17 years and didn’t know who owned the farm cannot make him guilty.
“The law is settled, that an accused person told lies does not make him guilty.”
The apex court held that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
The court, therefore, set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Owerri of 2012, which upheld the death sentence of the trial court and acquitted and discharged Mr Ajaegbo.
The judgment was read by Justice Ejembi Eko, and the other four justices on the panel agreed with the judgment.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Okoronkwo, a groundnut seller, was on September 19, 1996, lured into a hotel, called Otokoko in Owerri and beheaded.
Mr Okoronko was reportedly given a bottle of Coca-Cola that had been spiked with drug before he was killed.
The hotel was owned by one Vincent Duru, who became known as Chief Otokoto during the long trial, following his not guilty plea after his arrest and arraignment.
Besides beheading Okoronkwo, the suspects, who were seven in number reportedly, removed different organs from his body, including his genitals before burying the corpse in a shallow grave.
The crime was discovered when 32-year-old Innocent Ekeanyanwu, left the hotel to deliver the head in a polythene bag to a client.
An okada rider, who carried Mr Ekeanyanwu, discovered the fresh human head and alerted the police, leading to the arrest of Mr Ekeanyanwu.
Stay updated with the latest Nigerian news from Information Nigeria
Illegal Abortions Responsible For Mysterious Deaths In Bauchi: State Govt
Bauchi State Government has revealed that the mysterious deaths recorded in the State has been as a result of illegal abortions.
An investigation carried out by the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has revealed that illegal abortion by unqualified medical practitioners is the cause of mysterious deaths in Azare and other local government areas in the northern part of the state.
According to reports, no fewer than 200 women have died in Bauchi as a result of this and there are projections that the number could be more at the end of the investigation.
The Executive Chairman of the agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, disclosed this Friday, May 29, at an interactive session organized by the Bauchi State Public Health Media Network.
Mohammed said the deaths resulted from unwanted and unplanned pregnancies by both married and unmarried women of childbearing ages who, after becoming pregnant, visited quack health workers to terminate the pregnancies.
He said the lack of understanding of the importance of child spacing as well as ignorance of what to do with such pregnancies had become a major problem to family health in the state.
He emphasized the need for adequate sex education for the girl-child by parents, particularly mothers, to reduce unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing deaths from complications.
Ondo Govt Arraigns Suspected Killers Of Funke Olakunrin
The Ondo State Government has arraigned four men suspected to have killed Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of the National Leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.
Recall that it was earlier reported that the Nigeria Police Force handed over the suspects to the State Government.
They are Lawal Mazaje from the Felele area of Kogi State, Adamu Adamu from Jada area of Adamawa State, Mohammed Usman from Illela area of Sokoto State, and Auwal Abubakar from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.
The suspects were arraigned on Friday by the government at a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure.
Lagos Govt To Shutdown Markets Violating Social Distancing Order
The Lagos State Government has threatened to shut down markets in the State violating the social distancing order.
The Corps Marshal, Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC), Gbemisola Akinpelu, gave the warning on Monday at the Command Headquarters in the Oshodi area of the state.
In a statement issued by the Head, Public Affairs Unit of LAGESC, Adebayo Kehinde noted that the order is coming from the State Ministry of Environment.
He reiterated the commitment of the agency to monitor markets across the state to ensure that the directive of the government is being adhered to strictly.
He urged the traders to maintain environmental cleanliness around the markets and stop trading on road setbacks and drainage.
- News Feed19 hours ago
Oke Wasn’t Killed By Stray Bullet -Deceased’s Brother
- Entertainment17 hours ago
Actress Ada Ameh Breaks Down In Tears; Begs Government To Allow Her Bury Daughter (Video)
- News Feed19 hours ago
“They took all my years of hardwork” – Uche Elendu Laments Looting of Her Store by Hoodlums (photos)
- News Feed16 hours ago
“I don’t care about #EndSARS”- Edo state deputy governor’s son slams protesters
- National News19 hours ago
You’re a total idiot – 2Face and Blackface clash again
- News Feed19 hours ago
Lagos Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat Clears The Air On Lekki Light Outage
- National News18 hours ago
Lekki Toll Gate Shooting: Osinbajo Breaks Silence
- National News20 hours ago
SERAP Drags Buhari Government, Military To ICC Over Shooting Of #EndSARS Protesters