A federal high court in Abuja has delivered judgement on the killing of six traders in Abuja by policemen on June 7, 2005.
Two of the policemen, Ezekiel Acheneje and Baba Emmanuel, standing trial were sentenced to death, while three others were discharged in the judgement delivered Thursday by justice Ishaq Bello.
The accused persons, Danjuma Ibrahim, Othman Abdulsalami, Nicholas Zakaria, Ezekiel Acheneje, Baba Emmanuel and Sadiq Salami, were arraigned on a nine-count charge of conspiracy and culpable homicide, which contravened the provisions of sections 97 and 221 (a) of the penal code law.
Their victims were young traders aged between 21 and 25.
They were: Ifeanyi Ozor, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwodike and a female Augustina Arebun.
The defendants allegedly played different parts in the killing of the victims while they were returning from a night party in Abuja. Messrs. Acheneje and Emmanuel were fingered specifically for executing Anthony Nwokike and Augustina Arebun on June 8, a day after the face-off between the police and the six traders allegedly based on the directive of a senior officer, Danjuma Ibrahim.
Following their deaths and the subsequent public outcry, an official panel of inquiry was set up by ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to unravel the plot.
The report of the panel said that the victims were at a nightclub located at Gimbiya Street, Area 11 in Abuja on the night of the incident.
The panel further said that a face-off had ensued between Ibrahim and the group when the female victim (Augustina) allegedly turned down Ibrahim’s love advances at the club.
Five policemen accused of the killings and eight other police witnesses had testified that Ibrahim, the senior police officer among them, had allegedly ordered the killings.
However, the defendants, including Ibrahim, had pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the provisions of Sections 97 and 221 (a) of the penal code law with which the defendants were tried attracts death sentence.