On November 29, a magistrate court in Ondo state ordered the remand of a 27-year-old Indian hemp farmer, Owalum Benedict Ochin, to jail custody for decapitating his friend and roommate known as Ekon after a dispute over ingredients to put in a soup at their home in Jungle forest, Ipele, Owo local government district.
The Nation reports that in search of jobs, Benedict, who comes from Calabar, moved to Ondo State and was introduced to Blessing Opor and others who cultivated Indian hemp.
Benedict told the tribunal that;
Because he provoked me, I killed my mate, Ekon. He went to pluck a leaf he knew would bother my stomach and put it inside the soup. We were cooking soup.
The defendant allegedly told police that whenever he ate the leaf, he used to get stomach upset. He said they both went for their cutlasses and started to fight, causing injuries to support them, but he had the upper hand and was able to hack his friend all over his body before making the final head stroke.
He told the prosecution team that he had put his head inside a bag and hid it inside the bush to keep his crime from being uncovered.
Benedict said he was angry about why he attacked Blessing after killing his friend and remembered that Blessing owed him some money. It was Blessing’s warning that attracted others to the scene and he was arrested, he said.
A two-count charge of “murder and attempted murder” was brought against Benedict.
Inspector Uloh Goodluck, the police prosecutor, claimed that the offenses were contrary to sections 516, 316 and punishable by section 319(1) and 390(1) of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Volume 1, 2006 Ondo State Laws.
The defendant’s plea was not acknowledged when the indictment was read to him.
The presiding magistrate, N.T. Aladejana, ordered that, pending the result of advice from the office of the Department of Public Prosecution, Benedict be remanded in the Ondo Correctional Centre.
The case was adjourned to be heard on 21 January 2021.