A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, on Thursday sentenced to death two former policemen, Ezekiel Achejene and Emmanuel Baba, for being responsible for the death of two out of the six Igbo traders shot dead in Area 11 of Garki, Abuja, on June 8, 2005.
The presiding judge, who is also the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, however, freed three other policemen, who were prosecuted along with Achejene and Baba, for the death of the six traders.
Those discharged and acquitted were a former Deputy Commissioner of Police, Danjuma Ibrahim, Nicholas Zakaria and Sadiq Salami.
One other accused person, Othman Abdulsalam, was said to be at large and was never brought to court throughout the trial.
The deceased victims, who were auto spare part dealers at Apo area of Abuja, were Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paul Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Tina Arebun.
The judge anchored the convict Achejene and Baba for the death of two of the deceased persons.
The two were convicted on the basis of their extra-judicial statements in which they confessed that they were directed to shoot two of the deceased.
Justice Bello held that the retraction of their statements while giving oral evidence during the trial was merely an afterthought.
The judge held that being directed to commit a crime could never serve as a valid cover.
He held that it was "folly" for the convicts to think they could be "discharged on the ground of 'I am directed'."
But with respect to the three other discharged and acquitted persons, the judge held that police investigation was unable to link them with the alleged crimes.