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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Nigerian Man who was sentenced to death at 16 regains freedom

Patrick Okoroafor (pictured above) was only 14 when he was arrested for armed robbery in 1995 in Imo state. Two years later, at 16, he was sentenced to death by a court in the state. A few years later, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Through it all Patrick maintained his innocence, telling anyone who cared to listen that he didn't commit the crime. Fortunately for him in 2008, Amnesty international heard about his case and embarked on a campaign to help him regain his freedom. They called his trial unfair and campaigned for his immediate and unconditional release.

After four years, the campaigned has finally paid off. Patrick was released unconditionally from prison on April 30th 2012, after spending the last 15 years of his life there. He's now 31.

Unfortunately Patrick is just one of many prisoners in Nigeria who did not get a fair trial or have been in prison for years awaiting trial. Y'all remember Blessing Effiom? I went to see her at Kirikiri prison a while back and what I saw and heard broke my heart. Some of us are trying to get her out. Will update you guys when we have good news! Sad!

55 Comments:

  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:03 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Linda, all I can say is 'job well done'. Your blog is truly a medium for people to cry out and receive help. God bless you

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:06 , Blogger Atobatele said...

    Only in Nigeria sh*t like this happen...Imagine frm 16yrs to 31. May God punish those behind his trials.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:11 , Anonymous BLOGLORD said...

    height of injustice. not fair. i hope he picks the remaining bits of his life. he is still young so to say.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:13 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Pls how does someone get death penalty or even life imprisonment for armed robbery especially @ the age of 14? I fear this country!

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:14 , Anonymous Recent Nigerian Jobs said...

    One lucky dude he is.But meeen he needs total rehabilitation because a lot has happened since he went behind bars. Since 1994! He needs to go back to school. Can he even use a mobile phone? Does he know what the internet is? But anyways, he's alive and there's hope!

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:15 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    So true..so many people are in prison as a result of false accusation,slander, mere conspiracy etc...there can never be justice in this world
    Only God's kingdom and it's rightful king Jesus Christ can bring justice
    Mankind's effort has proved futile..until then,let's all pray for Gods kingdom to come in its due time and play our part to make sure we are a part of it

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:16 , Blogger ILORI said...

    Thank God and thnaks Amnesty international as well thank his stars.

    Linda I have always known you destined for great things, keep up the good work God will continue to strenghten you.

    Thhumbs Up

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:26 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    its sad that nigeria only does something when the west intervenes, sad really. Plus he was a child.He should sue nigerian government for the lost years of his life.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:32 , Blogger Virgos Very Own said...

    Dang!

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:46 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    @ Atobatele,

    Pleease! this happens everywhere in the developed world all the time.
    Make good use of the Web at your disposal.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:48 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    they should compensate him hugely!!! where is he going to start from!!!

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 18:51 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    May God have mercy!!!

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 19:01 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wow! It's sooo sad! Even d justice system is crap! D police crap! Govt crap! May God heal Nig!

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 19:14 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thank God for second chance, pray God will guide him to utilize his time wisely so that he can make up for the lost years...thanks for the info Linda; there is hope for Nigeria

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 20:00 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    *Lone tear*

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 20:07 , Anonymous sarafina said...

    Me I'm getting angry at thank God thank God comments o. What I'm willing to hear is what compensation they're offering the man abi na thank God he go chop? Infact if they don't make him a millionaire now, he'll be the one to kill everyone behind his case. Useless people holding powerful positions.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 20:17 , Blogger Deyinka Onabanjo said...

    When dey say Olorun ma je kari alakoba dis guy is supposed to say Amen. God plz hlp al d oda innocent pple like him.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 20:22 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wit wat I experienced of late wit policemen,,,anythin can happen,,,,dey can make u write a statement on an offense u neva committed,,,, nigeria police are so corrupt dat even if u are invited 2 d station just 2 come and answer an allegation,,,u are goin straight 2 cellsimply bcos somebody giv dem small money 2 humiliate u,,,and if u don't hav anybody u might spend a lot of months in their cell... I so much hate d way police corruptly handle matters and citizens in dis country,,,,I pray u neva enter their trap,,,they are all corrupted ,hopeless illiterates,,even when some of dem claim 2 b educated or superior officers,,, they are all d same... They can frustrate some1 2 turn militant.. Police are neva our friend here

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 20:24 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wit wat I experienced of late wit policemen,,,anythin can happen,,,,dey can make u write a statement on an offense u neva committed,,,, nigeria police are so corrupt dat even if u are invited 2 d station just 2 come and answer an allegation,,,u are goin straight 2 cellsimply bcos somebody giv dem small money 2 humiliate u,,,and if u don't hav anybody u might spend a lot of months in their cell... I so much hate d way police corruptly handle matters and citizens in dis country,,,,I pray u neva enter their trap,,,they are all corrupted ,hopeless illiterates,,even when some of dem claim 2 b educated or superior officers,,, they are all d same... They can frustrate some1 2 turn militant.. Police are neva our friend here

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 20:24 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    And boko haram is walking around scot free

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 20:39 , Anonymous triple A said...

    It happens alot in the US,just go to the innocence project website and u'll see those who have spent 40yrs in prison n innocent! Some die immeditely after release coz they r too old não mostly r blacks.some r lucky to get compensation.if only we could get people to set sth like the innocence project to help out.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 20:44 , Anonymous Janded said...

    The boko haram statement is unfair. This guy has lost his childhood for no reason. This does not only happen in Nigeria. the judicial system is flawed everywhere. the sad part is he might not get any restitution unlike in North america.
    Thank God for him though.

    abroadtales.blogspot.ca

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 20:54 , Anonymous Kemi said...

    Linda pls elaborate on this Blessing saga. Which Blessing Effiom in prison? Is it the model? The lady that boldly accused Ben Bruce of illegally showcasing her film?

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 21:37 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Infant u read my mind!!!!

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 21:41 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    om days my younger brother was still in my mama's belle oo when he was sentenced and i must have been about 2yrs! choi!! sorry oo kia wasted years...anyways my advice is that you make the most of your freedom... pele

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 21:54 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Honestly 9ja is fucked from 16 to 31 omo na serious torture bi dis oooo

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 21:57 , Blogger jojoophina said...

    Linda i don't think its right for u to put up his picture because he was a minor when he was charged.... im happy for the youngman God is truly with him

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 22:15 , Anonymous Jewel said...

    Dis is not so fair. I pray lead and direct his path.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 22:29 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Tank God for his life buh tins done hapen since 1994 ha! hopefully he will cope. God will continue to protect all of us.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 22:50 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Pls can you post a story abt Blessing Effiom. I don't think I know her story.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 23:12 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    prayer point of the day: akoba adaba olorun maje a ri.

     
  • At 9 May 2012 at 23:28 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    pls who is blessing effiom?d actress/model?

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 01:19 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Please Linda, do some research before you go public with your postings. This guy was actually tried in a competent court in Owerri. His family actually went all the way to Supreme court and lost all their appeals. This guy is the younger brother of the Okroafor brothers that were executed immediately after the Otokoto saga in owerri. The question is: was he guilty of the offenses (which includes murder and armed robbery) he was charged with? If he was innocent, why didnt he prove it from High court all through the Supreme court. I rejoice with him though on his freedom, but the most important thing is that he should turn a new leaf. Thanks to Present Governor of Imo state for this, and the past governors who have refused to sign his death warrants uptil now.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 03:23 , Anonymous Loisy said...

    Hmmm... This sounds like my brother, or Sister...

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 07:51 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Nigerian legal system is a joke?Did he get any compensation for miscarriage of justice? inhuman treatment? denial of right to family life? unfair detention? and for his life which they wasted in prison? In a similar case of Barry George, a man wrongfully accused of killing a television presenter in England who spent 6 years in prison before the sentence was overturned, he received a 6 figure compensation...... Nigeria. I cry for una legal system

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 08:09 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I lived in Owerri that that time and there is need to set records straight. These guy and his friends terrorized IMO state in those days. The little boy selling groundnut named IKECHUKWU OKONKWO was beheaded and his remain hurried under cassava trees in OTOKOOTO hotel in Amakhohia area of Owerri. The uproar that resulted as a result of discovery of the boy's head in Ikeduru area while the man in possession was washing the blood away in the river lead to the arrest of this guy and his friends. The man that saw the suspect washing a fresh human head of IKECHUKWU reported to the police which lead to the arrest of the suspect at the bus stop in ikeduru area of IMO state. The suspect made confessions to the police of his powerful sponsors. Among those allegedly mentioned were nwayanwu, nnogu brother to a then minister in Nigeria.

    That night after confessing and implicating powerful people in the state the suspect died mysteriously in police custody. This lead to a protracted riot in the town. Many properties of suspected ritualiists were destroyed and many set packing from the state including Larry, and co. Around this time there cases of kidnappings and extortions. Some of the alleged kidnappers that were terrorizing the state for money were later arrested after being set up around weatheral road in Owerri and this Patrick was among those arrested. He denied being one of them but they confessed he was one of them.

    The case went to court and Patrick was said to be under age, the cang alleged that he was one of them but he denied knowing them. It was also alleged that his rich and influential father did everything possible to free his son, but the anger of the people in the state made it difficult to free him. The father promised to do anything to free his son hence the campaign that started immediately. He was later reminded on account of being under age after others with him were found guilty and sentenced to death. The rest members were executed at Onitsha road, Owerri buy firing squad. God knows if he is innocent. God is a God of second chance. While I congratulate Patrick for this opportunity given by God, it is also important to know the background story.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 08:20 , Blogger Atobatele said...

    @ anon May 9, 2012 6:46 PM ....Can you please refer mi to a country where one is bn given death penalty for armed robbery at the age of 14.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 08:48 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Blesssing Effiom is the unfortunate girl that was wrongfully lucked up becacuse a man insisted the N10,000 phone she was using for payphone business was stolen from him. And so the poor 14yr old girl has been lucked up and forgotten since 2008.
    Ify

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 09:04 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Eiyah... but Linda on a more lighter mode, i suggest u take te good work a step further... u know, the guy isnt bad looking and he actually could use a serrious tender loving care from a real woman like u. lol
    If u like no publish my comment.
    ify.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 09:07 , Anonymous Kudoz said...

    At 14, armed robbery,sentenced to death. well thank God my dear things happen.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 09:23 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    kaaaaaiiiiii....them alaayes for inside the prision woulda fucked the hell outta this young mans' ass!

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 11:09 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    all the criminals even at 60-65 year,s heavily armed with ball pens stealing our money are not tried let alone sentenced to death, only God will catch up with them

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 11:17 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I remember it just like yesterday. we were in SS1 at that time at Premier Secondary School Owerri Imo state. He was my seat mate in class.Wow Patrick Okoroafor wow. I dont even know how to feel....or what to think. I am beyond shocked. Always wondered through the years what became of him...

    He was also linked to the Otokoto's son and the kidnap saga at that point.He was a bad boy , the kind that cuts classes and followed cultists.... I cant judge whether he deserved this or not but we all need to be careful who we associate with. He might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time... Bottom line, I went to university , graduated and i am a manager in a mid level firm now. I am married with a son.. He... well......

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 13:04 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Noo not dat one.
    A sixteen year old girl dat ws convicted for stealing a phone or smfn of d sorts..
    Jus go tru shaa ul still see the story here!

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 13:48 , Anonymous CHINWE said...

    THANK YOU ANONYMOUS May 10, 2012 8:09 AM FOR BRINGING TO OUR MEMORIES THE FORGOTTEN CIRCUMTANCES OF HIS INCACERATION.

    I'M SURE ALOT OF US HAVE FORGOTTEN THE OTOKOTU SAGA THAT OCCURRED IN IMO STATE THEN.

    PLEASE LET'S GO DOWN MEMORY LANE BEFORE WE ALL SPEW THE "THANK GODS" AS THE FAMILIES OF THOSE THAT WERE KILLED FOR RITUAL PURPOSES SEE ISSUES DIFFERENTLY.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 16:17 , Anonymous Toni said...

    If we ask our country to jail fraudulent politicians now (ex-governors ahem)....na dere wey nepa take light. But it's easy to jail a 14y/o for 16 years!! We don't know the full story but it seems quite harsh in my opinion.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 17:03 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Nigeria is a joke. They don't put real criminals who are guilty in prison(mostly in the government) but a 16yr old life imprisonment for stealing.

    Nigeria keep confirming everyday that it's a failed country. I thank God more and more for a country like America. I don't take anything for granted.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 17:35 , Blogger Chidy Evulobi said...

    it could be a set-up from a rival family, this kind of a thing is rampant in ibo land.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 19:59 , Blogger Miss Yoyin said...

    Its not that blessing O! The one Lin is talking about has been in kirikiri since she was 16 cos she was accused of stealing a mobile phone!

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 20:06 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    @anon. 5.03. U're finishing nigeria and thanking God for america where gay marriage is seen as giving pp their rights?america where insane desires $ low morals reign supreme? I hope u're not lost. This boy I remember so well. A spoilt child hanging out with bad friends. His cohorts obidiozo $ co are long dead. He shd
    Be thanking God cos he was guilty By association. It wasnt armed robbery linda,it was ritual killings that he was arraigned and sentenced for.chei! I was in ;42 then. This story reminds me of my
    Childhood memories. The otokoto saga,.

     
  • At 10 May 2012 at 20:25 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Well, for those of you who dont know, let me use the medium to enlighten you. Nigeria law is to protect the rich who are stealing and milking our economy dry.
    Abi, how many of them have you seen prosecuted and found guilty and jailed? Abi, wasnt it recently that british law helped us take care of Ibori who was found not guilty of 170 charges? Till tomoro, did that olodo at aso rock come out to declare his asset? Plus many more crimes he's committed before and after being elected president?

    I thank God for the poor boy's life o! If not he would have been dead by now. So, i will say to everyone, mind urself and where u dey waka go cos law in Nigeria is meant for YOU, whether u re guilty or not. Except your father/mother is a god-father or something.

    Boy, thank God for your life that u came out alive cos two of my childhood friends, were not so lucky. They were killed for no reason at the police station at Ikpoba Hill, Benin City and police station in Ekpoma and said they were armed robbers. Their bodies were displayed in front of the stations with guns beside them. Just thank God for you my brother.

     
  • At 11 May 2012 at 18:06 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I remember the otokoto saga back then. I was still a kid. Gosh! And my dad used to go lodge at that hotel back then whenever he travelled to imo cos it was a "big" hotel. Even remember hearing they used some of their guests for rituals. This guy should be thanking his God he was just guilty by association or he would be dead like the others. I hope 15yrs in there has changed him and made him want to do more with his life. What a waste

    CHI

     
  • At 11 May 2012 at 20:25 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yall shud shut up, I av no pity for armed robbers, if uve ever experienced it or narrowly escaped it u will feel no pity some youngs boys , a gang of 5 tried to break in my flat like 3 times, and passed thru my compd twice noisely . They av since been arrested, its been hell for me, now am moving out to go pay for rent wen my family owns this house, trauma has really affected me, they av since been arrested and I pray they rot and die in jail. I can't pretend like d rest of u, I hope evry robber dies in jail

     
  • At 11 May 2012 at 20:31 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dnt mind them falling for a pschopts lies, if am sentenced to death won't I claim am innocent??

     
  • At 6 August 2012 at 23:33 , Anonymous latest Nigerian Jobs said...

    Since 1994! He needs to go back to school. Can he even use a mobile phone? Does he know what the internet is? But anyways, he's alive and there's hope

     

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