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Prime suspect in the alleged rape and murder of Akwa Ibom jobseeker, Iniubong Umoren, makes u-turn, denies knowing her

Uduak-Abasi Akpan, the man arrested over the alleged rape and murder of 26-year-old Akwa Ibom jobseeker, Miss Iniubong Umoren, has denied knowing the deceased.

Recall that Inubong Umoren had gone for a job interview after she posted on Twitter that she needed a job and Akpan allegedly invited her to come for an interview. She told her best friend about this and the friend raised alarm when she received an audio message from Ini screaming after which Ini’s number was no longer reachable. Police investigations resulted in the arrest of Akpan who confessed that Ini wasn’t his first victim.

While being led to open his defence at the Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, the state capital on Wednesday, April 6, Akpan denied knowing one Miriam Akpan and Blessing Sunday, who the prosecution had alleged were also his rape victims.

While responding to a question by his lawyer, Samson Adula, who asked him to tell the court what he knew about the charges of rape and murder of Iniubong Umoren levelled against him, Akpan replied by saying

“My Lord, I do not know Miss Iniubong Umoren. I only came to know that name when I was served with the proceedings of this trial at the prison. For the second charge of rape, my Lord, I do not know anything about rape. I have never raped anybody.”

On the alleged rape of one Miriam Akpan and Blessing Sunday, the accused, said

“I do not know those two names. My Lord, I can say that the allegations by Miriam Akpan and Blessing Sunday were mere set-up.”

However, during cross-examination when the prosecuting counsel, Christopher Udoh, asked him if he remembered that when he was brought to court for trial on July 26, 2021, in respect of late Umoren’s case that he had pleaded guilty to the charge of murder, and ‘not guilty’ to rape, he told the court that he was feeling traumatized that very day. He added that he pleaded guilty to the charge of murder because the Investigating Police Officer, IPO, Archibong, had asked him to plead guilty.

Akpan further told the court during cross-examination that when he visited his father, Mr. Frank Akpan (second accused person) on April 29, 2021, that both of them left the compound together.

Asked between him and his father who returned to the House first, he said

“I am not sure when my father went back to the House. I never went back to the House. My Lord, I spent the night in the house of my relative, Agnes Inyang at Osongama Estate, Uyo.”

The accused in his defence, said when he left his family compound at Uruan LGA, on April 29, 2021, he went for a business, to see one Gregory Udofia in Uyo, whom he claimed wanted to sell his property in town.

He further told the court that the next day being April 30, 2021, he travelled to Calabar, Cross River State to visit her younger sister, Anwan-Bassey Akpan, the third accused person.

The trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang adjourned the case till April 11 and 12, 2022, for the continuation of trial.

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