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Iniubong Umoren: Hearing stalled as counsel to suspect’s father, sister withdraws

Hearing on the trial of Uduak Akpan, the accused murderer of late Iniubong Umoren, a job seeking graduate in Uyo was, on Friday, stalled following the withdrawal from the case by the lead council to the 2nd and 3rd accused, Barr. Emms Ekongson.

The second and third accused persons, Mr. Frank Akpan (Uduak’s father) and his daughter, Bassey Anwan Akpan, are standing trial at Akwa Ibom State High Court, sitting in Uyo, on two-count charge of accessory, which borders on harbouring of the first accused person in order to escape punishment.

In a letter addressed to the Clerk of the court, Ekongsos told the Court that his decision to terminate his representation was borne out of the clients’ family’ inability to pay their fees.

Meanwhile, during proceedings, counsel to the first accused person and Coordinator, Akwa Ibom State Legal Aid Council, Samson Adula, offered to get another lawyer that would represent the two accused persons.

The trial Judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang, therefore, urged Mr. Frank Akpan, the second accused person to liaise with Samson Adula to connect him and his daughter to another lawyer.

He adjourned the murder case till January 31, 2022, for continuation of hearing.

However, responding to questions from journalists on why he did not take over the defense of the second and third accused persons, Samson Adula explained that he could not have done so since he was not the one that handled it from the beginning.

His words: “Everybody has his own way of defense. I have my own way of putting up my defense, he (Ekongson) has his own way. And now he has withdrawn, let a neutral person come and continue from there.

“Remember we have taken about 8 witnesses out of 12. So, at this stage, it is not very comfortable for me since I didn’t start from the beginning, even though I have been present. My office by virtue of our Act, statutorily empowers us to assign such cases to lawyers.

“There are some lawyers that have approached us to assign criminal cases to them. We will contact a couple of them and anybody that is ready to handle this case, we will assign the person to come in and conclude the defense of the second and third accused persons.”

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