Dr. Fred Ekpe Ayokahi, the Senior Lecturer with the Federal University of Lafia who has been standing trail for criminal conspiracy, house breaking, abduction, voluntarily causing grievous hurt without provocation and assault against one 20 year-old Blessing Mathias, has been sentenced to six months in jail.
In case No. NSD/LF233c/2022, Dr. Ayokahi was standing alongside his children Emmanuella Ayokahi, Bob-Praise Ayokahi and Saint-Dan Ayokahi as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants with the State Commissioner of Police as the prosecutor at the High Court Obi in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Dr. Ayokahi has been in detention since 22nd October, 2022 at the Nigeria Correctional services in Lafia.
The defendants were first arraigned in court before the Nasarawa State Chief Judge, Justice Aisha Bashir Aliyu, where the case was assigned to Justice Solomon W. Ayenajeh of the High Court Obi.
One of the suspects in the case, Vera Ogbonnaya, is still at large.
After several processes filed, issues joined and witnesses taken on the case with exhibits, the Counsel to the 1st to 4th defendants, A. U. Idris Esq had approached the court of an offer for plea bargain, after his clients have pleaded guilty to the crime charged.
It was gathered that, both the parties involved in the case of Dr. Ayokahi and Blessing Mathias have consented to the plea bargain agreement, where charges against the 1st and the 4th defendants are amended.
The convict and the 2nd to 4th defendants were hitherto charged with two count charges of criminal conspiracy and physical assault with canes and sticks, contrary to sections 96 and 264 and punishable under section sections 97 and 265 of the Penal Code, Laws of the Northern Nigeria, 1963 respectively.
Presiding over the matter on Thursday, April 20, 2023, Justice S. W. Ayenajeh convicted the 1st defendant and sentenced him to jail for six months for criminal conspiracy and another six months for assault.
The judge however said that, the sentence will run concurrently in consideration of his plea.
Justice Ayenajeh said, the six months period, which Dr. Fred had been in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service will be reckoned with.
He added, consequent upon the plea bargain and taken into cognizance the ages of his children, the 2nd to 4th defendants were however let-off under a six months probation order for six months’
Justice Ayenajeh order that, within the six months period, they 2nd to 4th defendants will be tax with keep the premises of the Nasarawa State High Court of Justice clean and will also be of good conducts, while the third defendant was admonished to shave his dreg locks.
Dr. Fred Ayokahi, when given the opportunity to talk, he thanked his Lordship and parties in the matter for the consideration and the leniency accorded him.
The convict however drew the attention of the court that, as a father and teacher in the federal institution, he was not and has never been found wanting in the discharge of his duties, that he has taken further step to compensate the victim, Blessing Mathias as part of his consent for the plea bargain.
The prosecuting counsel and the State Attorney-General, Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana said, the step taken by the government was to provide for the defendant the second chance in life, particularly the children who are still coming up with bright future.