June 17, 2024

More revelations emerge on controversial death of Akwa Ibom lawyer

An Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo has heard more revealing testimonies surrounding the death of a practicing lawyer with the State Ministry of Justice, Barrister Godwin Ikoiwak, for which six persons are standing trial.

The court, presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang, heard the testimony of the first defendant and wife of the deceased, Mrs Abasiesebanga Ikoiwak, a 37-year-old lawyer and registrar at the Court of Appeal, Calabar.

In her evidence in-chief, Mrs Ikoiwak testified how the body of the deceased was conveyed from his mother in-law’s house in Nung Udoe Itak, Ikono Local Government Area to Saint Luke’s Hospital, Anua, in Uyo, for a death certificate to give the impression that he died at the hospital instead of his mother in-law’s house.

Mrs Ikoiwak is standing trial alongside five others, including her 67-year-old mother, Margaret Patrick Umoh; her 36-year-old sister, Owoidoho Patrick Umoh, two medical doctors – Dr Imoh Sunday Johnson and Dr Isaac Njoku – as well as a Catholic priest, Reverend Father Gabriel Ekong, who is the Administrator of Saint Luke’s Hospital.

In her testimony, Mrs Ikoiwak, the first defendant, admitted her confessional statement to the Department of State Services, DSS, that she directed her sister, Udeme Patrick Umoh, a Nigeria Police officer now at large, to convey the corpse of her husband to Saint Luke’s Hospital, where she contacted Dr Johnson for a death certificate, stating the place and cause of death.

She said she told the doctor the truth that her husband died in her mother’s house but that he should write in the death certificate that her husband died at Saint Luke’s Hospital.

“On 19/1/2022, my husband told me he was feeling weak after returning from the Federal High Court, Uyo. Since I was not around, I suggested to him to go to my mother’s house, where he will have people to attend to him and he did.

“Upon inquiry about his health, he said he was still weak and on medication. At 9:00 pm, I called again to check on him, but my mother and my sister told me he was breathing heavily and at 1:00 am, my sister called that his breath has stopped.

“I put a call to our Parish Priest, Reverend Father Maurice Mbeke, because my husband was the Chairman, Parish Harvest Planning Committee of the Church, and asked him whether he could be of help and give him a sacrament of exhaustive unction and referred him to a hospital.

“I told my sister, Udeme, to use my name to register the corpse that I was on my way to Uyo from Calabar. I know the relationship with my in-laws and their action will not be pleasant.

“On the burial date, 12th February, 2022, I discovered that the family of my husband did not include my name as the wife of the deceased in the burial programme but it was stated that my husband died as a bachelor without kids,” Mrs Ikoiwak told the court.

She also claimed that she married the deceased as an asthmatic patient but that on the date the husband died, she did not inform any of his family members, including Dr Utibe Ikoiwak, whom she said, managed the alleged ailment.

Mrs Ikoiwak was asked to explain why, on the day the husband died, she was on constant phone calls with her mother, her sister, her mechanic and a Catholic priest, Reverend Father Maurice Mbeke, who are not medical professionals, but never called any of her in-laws when the husband’s condition got worse as she claimed.

On why her husband’s family never saw the two children she said she delivered for the late Barrister Ikoiwak, Mrs Ikoiwak said her in-laws refused to visit them even when she gave birth to to the two children.

She denied claims that her husband requested for a DNA test on her children and that the DNA test and the quarrel that erupted, led to the death of her husband, who was hale and hearty, after returning from the court.

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