A woman who was sentenced to death for the murder of her husband has been released from prison in Benin city, Edo state, after a landmark ruling at the Supreme court, StandardGazette reported.
We recalled that Mrs Enobong Isonguyo and her alleged pastor lover, Udoka Ukachukwu, were charged and sentenced to death for the murder of her husband, Engr. Victor Gabriel Isonguyo, a staff of Nigerian National Petroleum Company NNPC, Benin, Edo State in 2013.
During the trial, the prosecuting counsel told the court that the murder of the deceased was carried out by the convicts so as to cover up the pregnancy accusation by the deceased while he was away.
“The deceased’s wife told the pastor to wait on the route of her husband to work and ask him for a ride. The plan paid off as the man eventually stopped and gave the pastor a ride along sapele road Benin. During the journey, the said pastor brought out a sharp object and hit him on his neck before opening the petrol tank, sipped out fuel and burnt him beyond recognition,” the court heard.
It was established that millions of naira and landed properties belonging to the deceased were transferred to the said pastor by the wife.
In his ruling, Justice Geraldine Imadegbelo held that the prosecution was able to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
The Court held that the deceased was killed with a sharp object in his car by the said pastor who then set the car ablaze. The judge however sentenced them to death by hanging.
However, Enobong’s defence counsel, Olayiwola Afolabi, proceeded to the Supreme court, where the earlier judgements were overturned.
According to Standard Gazette, in a landmark judgement delivered by Justice Mary Odili last month, the supreme court resolved that the ruling from the lower court was based on speculation and imagination, which are not part of the criminal code.
The court described the death sentence as a miscarriage of justice and ordered the woman to be released unconditionally.
On Thursday, May 5, Afolabi and a team of journalists were in Benin to facilitate Enobong’s release.
Speaking to newsmen, Afolabi expressed gratitude to God for the freedom as they commended the judiciary, describing it as “the hope of the common man.”
However, it is gathered that the pastor who was sentenced along with Enobong escaped from prison custody during the 2020 Endsars protest.
The then Commissioner of Police,CP Foluso Adebanjo who narrated how Mrs Enebong Victor Isonguyo allegedly planned the murder of her husband with her pastor, said they both confessed to be lovers and plotted the death of the NPDC staff and father of three.
“What happened was that the Pastor asked the deceased to meet him somewhere along Sapele road. When the deceased got there, the Pastor stabbed him twice and then burnt the car. The woman gave the husband’s new car to the Pastor and we found the car with the Pastor. After killing the man in his vehicle, he set the car ablaze. The Pastor changed the number plate of the new car and put a fake one after he murdered the man.” he explained.
However, Mrs Isonguyo who denied having extra marital affairs with the Pastor.
“When I did not see my husband I ran to the Pastor because we have known for a very long time. I took my husband’s new car to him to sow as a seed in the church so that my husband will be found. I told him to take it to the church but I didn’t know that he went and changed the number plates. I had to ask him to pray harder because I loved my husband and I don’t want anything to happen to him. I did not kill my husband because I loved him”
“I was lying down in the house at about 11pm that day when the police came and arrested me”. Asked if she is having extra marital affair with the Pastor, she asserted “ God forbid, I have not had any affair with the Pastor. The Pastor has been a close family friend and we always give him cloths to go and share in the orphanages. And even when I travelled with my husband we gave him our ATM card so that he can take care of our poultry and whatever that is needed to be done. He has been very honest to us so I don’t know what is happening,”
She further denied having quarrel with the late husband, asserting that “Until I came to this place nobody told me that my husband is dead. I pray that God should intervene because I have never committed any crime before in my life. I want God to intervene in this matter. I have three boys for my husband, 17, 16 and 15 years”.
In his confession, Pastor Ukachukwu of Land of Evidence Church along Airport Road Benin City, said he kicked against bringing the car to him by the deceased wife but decided to accept it when she insisted that she wanted to sow a seed.
According to him: “I have been a family Pastor and sometimes I pick their children from school. She called me and said that she wanted to give me a car to sow a seed in my church. When she even brought the car I asked her why she should bring the car in the middle of this crisis but she said her husband is worth more than any material thing that she can make any sacrifice for her husband. I changed the plate number because any gift for Pastors you have to change it in order to be able to drive the car”
Barrister Afolabi and his team