After four years of legal battle, a Lagos High Court presided over by Justice Olabisi Akinlade on Thursday found two of the suspected killers of Cynthia Osokogu guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging.
Justice Akinlade in her judgement that lasted for more than four hours found Ezekiel Eloka and Echezona Nwabufor guilty of the murder of Cynthia, a postgraduate student, Cynthia Osokogu.
Cynthia was lured from Nasarawa to Lagos before she was strangled to death at a hotel in Festac Town, Lagos, in 2012.
Justice Akinlade held that having carefully analysed the evidence presented before the court, testimonies of Prosecution Witnesses, and confessional statements the defendants made to the police, she was left with no doubt that the accused killed Cynthia Osokogu.
The court also found the first and second defendants guilty of the second charge of committing felony by stealing her Blackberry phone.
The judge held that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended and in fact took the life of the deceased in the process of stealing her phone and belongings.
She also found the duo guilty of the first and third charge of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to steal.
Ms. Osokogu who met Mr. Eloka on Facebook was lured to Lagos and murdered on July 22, 2012, at Cosmilla Hotel, Lakeview Estate, Festac Town.
However, the 3rd defendant, Orji Osita, a pharmacist, was discharged of the charge of recklessness and negligence for selling prescription drugs without prescription which the accused used in drugging the deceased.
He was charged with negligently selling Rohypnol Flunitrazepan tablets, which were allegedly used to drug the deceased, to Ezike.
The 4th defendant, Nonso, the man who bought Osokogu’s stolen Blackberry Bold 5 cell-phone, charged with being in possession of a stolen property was also discharged and acquitted.
Cynthia Osokogu was murdered on July 22, 2012 at Cosmilla Hotel, Lakeview Estate, Festac Town, Lagos, by her Facebook lover.
The murder trial began on February 8, 2013, with the state calling the hotel’s receptionist as the first witness.
The body of late Cynthia Osokogu,24, the only daughter of General Frank Osokogu (rtd) was discovered in a Lagos morgue a month after she was declared missing by her family.
She was a post-graduate student and had a boutique in Nasarawa State until her death.
However, during the trial proceedings, ten witnesses gave various testimonies in the case.
The court in a proceeding, foreclosed the right of the second accused person, Olisaeloka Ezike, to file his address.
The judge made the order due to the delay by the second accused’s counsel to file his final written address.
The judge said that there were several adjournments by the court to enable the second accused file his address but the counsel chose to sleep on the right of his client.
However, some reasons of ill health and change of counsel were given as the reason for the delay, the judge allowed the address to be regularised.
Akinlade had at the previous sitting on February 22, 2013 adjourned till Friday for the continuation of trial.
Court registrars only gave April 12as the new date for the continuation of trial without giving any reason for the judge’s absence.
Osokogu was allegedly drugged and murdered by her Facebook friends, on July 22, 2012, at Cosmilla Hotel, Lakeview Estate, FESTAC Town, Lagos.
The suspects, who were arraigned on February 8, are Okwumo Nwabufo (33), Olisaeloka Ezike (23), Orji Osita (33) and Ezike Nonso (25).
Nwabufo and Ezike are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and murder of the deceased.
The prosecution alleged that Osokogu was murdered in the hotel on July 22, 2012 by Nwabufo and Ezike, whom she had met on Facebook.