Minna High Court 1 presided by Chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik, has sentenced a middle-aged man, Stephen Jiya, to death by hanging for the murder of his biological mother, Mrs. Comfort Jiya.

Recall that the deceased, a former Principal of Government Girls’ Secondary School, Sabon Wuse and Maryam Babangida Girls’ Science College, Minna, died after she was set ablaze by Stephen.

Comfort was in her kitchen at her residence in Darusalam Area of Minna, when her son, said to be a drug addict, returned from Suleja on Monday December 20, 2021, and poured petrol on her before lighting her up.

She was rushed to the General Hospital Minna by neighbours and later transferred to another medical facility where she succumbed to her injuries.

Stephen was arrested by the state Criminal Intelligence Department (SCID) of the Police Command and confessed to the crime, claiming that his mother usually intruded into his marital affairs.

Jiya was earlier arraigned before a magistrate court by the SCID operatives on provisional charges while awaiting legal advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for proper prosecution in a competent court.

The DPP formally charged him on September 14, 2022, before Justice Halima Abdulmalik of High Court 1, under Section 221 of the Penal Code Law which provides a death penalty if found guilty.

The hearing commenced on November 22, 2022, and Justice Abdulmalik.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Serah Gana had prayed to the Court to prosecute him in accordance with the provision of Section 221 of the penal code which attracts the death penalty.

Delivering her ruling on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, the CJ said the convict was found guilty of culpable homicide punishable under section 221 of the penal code law which attracts the death penalty.

Justice Halima Abdulmalik in her submission said that the circumstances that led to the death of the deceased clearly showed that the convict was undoubtedly responsible for the crime levelled against him as established by the Prosecutor.

She also said that all the evidence and prosecuting witnesses who testified before the court were able to prove that the convict was responsible for the killing of his biological mother, Mrs. Comfort Jiya.

“With all the evidence tendered before the court, I don’t have any iota of doubt in my mind that the convict was guilty of culpable homicide punishable under sections 221 of the penal code as charged,” she said.

“The prosecutor has proved the case against the defendant beyond every reasonable doubt and I am convinced with all the testimonies of the prosecuting witnesses.

“On the whole, the prosecutor has proved its case beyond every reasonable doubt against the defendant and I hereby found you Stephen Jiya guilty of the offence of culpable homicide with death under section 221 of the penal code accordingly.

In an emotionally laden voice, Justice Halima Abdulmalik asked the convict, “What do you have to say before I pass my sentence on you”?.

The convict pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy saying,

“I am a family man. I have a wife and children. Give me a second chance and I will be a product of a good society. My Lord have mercy on me. Temper justice with Mercy and I promise to change for good” he pleaded.

In her judgement which lasted for over one hour, Justice Halima Abdulmalik said her hands are tied because the punishment for culpable homicide as stipulated by law is death.

“In the circumstances, the sentence of the Court upon you is that you should be hanged by the neck, electrocuted, executed or injected with lethal injection until you are dead. May the Lord have mercy on your soul,” the Chief Judge submitted.

A total of six witnesses including two members of his family an his younger sister testified against him during the trial.