By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Two persons, identified as Faith Obi (aged 32 years) from Akpakumeze in Ụdị, Enugu State, and Chinenye Obete (aged 41 years) from Ezamgbo in Ebonyi State, have bagged a cumulative jail term of 19 years, 6 months each in Anambra State for different child trafficking-related offences, including enticing away their neighbour’s son with and keeping the child in their possession.
The culprits were convicted on Wednesday, following a judgment delivered by Her Worship Genevieve Osakwe of a Chief Magistrate Court, the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court, sitting in Awka, Anambra State.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Miss Chidimma Ikeanyionwu, Obi and Obete were arraigned on a-5 count charge, which include: child stealing, abduction of children and illegal dealing in children, fraudulently enticing away and habouring a 7-year old boy, and forcefully isolating the child from the lawful possession of their parents, which are punishable under the Criminal Code, Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria, 1991, and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition and Protection) Laws of Anambra State, 2017 respectively.
Ikeanyionwu said: “Delivering judgment on the case, the presiding Chief Magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe stated that the defendants had been found guilty of all the five charges brought against them.
“The presiding Chief Magistrate noted that based on the oral testimonies of the defendants and the submissions of the plaintiff’s witnesses, as well as, other materials placed before the Court, in respect of the case; there were overwhelming pieces of evidence against the defendants, and the prosecutor had proved his case beyond reasonable doubts.
“In sentencing the defendants, His Worship Osakwe slammed Faith Obi and Chinenye Obete, both 4 years imprisonment in count 1; 5 years imprisonment in count 2; 5 years imprisonment in count 3; 5 years imprisonment in count 4 and a term of 6 months imprisonment in court 5, and declared, however, that all the sentences would run concurrently, without any option of fine.”
According to Ikeanyionwu, the State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Mrs. Ify Obinabo was gladdened and satisfied with the outcome of the court judgment, while noting that it would serve as deterrent to others intending to commit such crime in the State, as the present administration of Governor Chukwuma Soludo would always get justice for the oppressed in the state. She further hailed the appreciated the efforts of the Court in seeing that children are protected in the state, even as she assured that the Ministry would not relax until the remaining suspect connected to the case, who is now on the run is apprehended and prosecuted.
It was gathered that the culprits were arraigned in 2023 and given two weeks grace to produce the child they stole, and which they couldn’t; hence their sentencing in 2024.