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Published On: Mon, Dec 7th, 2020

Examining threat to life and its legal consequences

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By Ochiaka Ugwu

A threat is an expression of intention to inflict injury or damage and is often one of the first ways a person of concern may be identified.
While Threat to Life involves a threat to life (imminent or potential), serious bodily injury or significant violent action that may include a threat to public safety, use of weapons of mass destruction, crisis calls, active shooter, threat to law enforcement, or terrorism.
It is a serious offence all over the world including Nigeria. In Nigeria, this offence contravenes Sections 56 and 168 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of 2015 and Section 56 prescribes one year jail term for threat to life and that is why it should not be treated with kind glove.
It was based on this, that a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Anti-Kidnapping, Human Trafficking, Child Abuse & Drugs Abuse Initiative (AKH-TRACADA) petitioned the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) alleging Threat to Life, Criminal Conspiracy, Fraud on Mr. Harrison Ezeatuenyi by some people who conspired and defrauded him of N4, 000, 000.
In a petition dated September 09, 2020 and signed by the National Coordinator, Mr. Belonwu Ezeanyaeche A. O who also is the Anambra State Coordinator for Volunteers for Awareness against Kidnapping and Human Trafficking (VAKAHT), he pleaded with the Attorney General to use his good office to bring the perpetrators of the evil act to book as it will serve as deterrent to others.
The petitioner informed the Attorney General that one Mr. Harrison Ezeatueyi who was rescued from his attackers at Akukwa Village, Igboukwu at about 11:30pm on August 3rd 2020 was handed over to the police through Barr. Duke Ezeonwuka of D.O Ezeonwuka and Associate, an Awka based Legal Practitioner.
According to the petition, “Today been 10” of September 2020 Mr. Harrison Ezeatueyi will return to his home at Ward 21 Akukwa Village, Igboukwu. He has been at my residence since 3rd of August, 2020 for safety and wellbeing of his life. Mr. Harrison narrowly escaped death at about 11:30pm on 3rd of August 2020 during the attack on him. He was defrauded by his assailants of four million Naira (N4, 000,000) paid by the buyer of his land”.
The petitioner informed that for record purpose, they write to inform the Attorney General that should anything happen to Mr. Harrison Ezeatueyi, the people mentioned in this petition as his attackers should be suspected for being responsible and be held responsible for it, hence the threat to his life persist and his money has not been returned to him.
He noted that his balance of Two million, three hundred and fifty thousand naira only (N2, 350,000) out of Four Million naira only, is still with one of his attackers who have vowed never to release the money to him.
He narrated how Mr. Harrison Ezeatuenyi reached an understanding with one of his attackers before the attack on him to have money from his land sale proceed paid into his account given the fact that Mr. Ezeatuenyi’s bank account was having Bank Verification Number (BVN) issues then.
“Upon ratifying his BVN issue since February 2020, the attacker is yet to pay the money, but have used all means to intimidate him in order not to pay the agreed sum that was meant for the land. It is interesting to know that the attackers have stubbornly refused to return Mr. Harrisons money, despite the condition of bail given to them by the police, the bail condition is to go and return Mr. Harrison money, but they have continue to use abusive power to shield themselves against police investigation.
“This heinous crime is against humanity. Though the Police have successfully frozen the account of one of the attackers that supposed to pay Mr. Ezeatuenyi’s money through the court, this is to ensure the recovery of Mr. Harrison Ezeatueyi’s money from him.
“We humbly and respectfully plead that you use your good, efficient and effective office to ensure that Mr. Harrison Ezeatueyi recover his hard earn money from the attackers and their Co-travelers with the aim of bringing them to justice to serve as good lesson to others undermining the rule of law in other communities in Nigeria, particularly in Anambra State”.
In another petition to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police titled: “Fraud, Threat to Life, Conduct likely to cause Breach or lead to extermination of life” by Bar. D. O. Ezeonwuka of D. O. Ezeonwuka & Associates who is also a counsel to Mr. Harrison Ezeatuenyi, he asked the police command to wade into the matter as the life of his client is in great danger.
According to the petitioner, “We have been consulted and our professional services retained by Mr. Harrison Ezeatuenyi. It is our instruction that our client sold a piece or parcel of land belonging to our client to Mr. Echezona Ikegwuonu. Further instruction to us is that our client bank account as the time of the said land transaction was having a Bank Verification Number (BVN) problem which made our client unable to withdraw from his account until the problem is rectified.
The petitioner said he has the instruction that their client directed the buyer to pay the sum of N2, 350, 000.00 (Two million three hundred and fifty thousand naira) only into the account number of his assailant with the agreement that he will give back the client the said N2, 350, 000.00 (Two million three hundred and fifty thousand naira) only when he rectifies his BVN problem.
“Further instruction to us is that after our client has rectified his BVN problem with his bank, he told his assailant to pay back the said N2,350, 000.00 (Two million three hundred and fifty thousand naira) only into our client’s bank, account but he refused and told our client that he will use the said N2,350, 000.00 (Two million three hundred and fifty thousand naira) to build a house for our client without the consent and approval of our client”.
He noted that when his client insisted that his money should be given to him, this assailant started threatening his life to the effect that they will deal with him should he ask or demand for the money again. |
He also alleged that his client was seriously attacked in Akukwa village, Igboukwu to the extent that they nearly killed him if not for the intervention of one Belonwu Ezeanyaeche who raised alarm and their client was rescued.
He maintained that the attackers of his client are going around in the community boasting to the hearing of everybody that they must deal with him ruthlessly.
He however, called on the Anambra State Commission of Police to use his good offices to come to the aid of Mr. Harrison Ezeatuenyi before it is too late by investigating his complaints with the aim of ascertaining the true situation of things.
Source: BBC

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