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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

In Anambra, Two Convicted, Bag Multiple Jail Term over Illegal Child Trafficking


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court of Anambra State, sitting in Awka, on Wednesday, slammed multiple jail terms on two young men, Mr. Kingsley Chinedu Okeke (aged 22 years old), and Mr. Chukwuemeka Nweke, (aged 27 years old) over crime bordering on illegal dealings on children.

The Spokesperson of the Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, disclosed this in a statement to newsmen over the week.

According to her, the convicts were arraigned before the Court, sometime in 2023, on a-4 count charge bordering on child stealing, illegal dealing in children; fraudulently enticing away and habouring one year and two months old baby boy; forcefully isolating the child from the lawful possession of his parents; and infliction of physical injuries, punishable under the Criminal Code, Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria, 1991, the Child’s Rights Law of Anambra State, 2004, and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition and Protection) Laws of Anambra State, 2017 respectively.

Continuing, she said, delivering the landmark judgment on the case, the presiding Chief Magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe found the defendants culpable of all the four-count charges brought against them, while also chiding them for wasting the time of Court by blatantly telling lies on oath, throughout the duration of the trial.

“Based on the oral testimonies of the defendants, their written depositions, made at the earliest opportunity, 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,” the court said.

The court further slammed jail terms on the defendants as follows: 1 year imprisonment in count 1; 6 years imprisonment in count 2; 6 years imprisonment in count 3; and a term of 2 years imprisonment in court 4.

The court further added that all the sentences would run concurrently, without any option of fine.

Reacting to the development, the State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Hon. Mrs. Ify Obinabo, who expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the Court’s judgment, also commended the efforts of the court in protecting the children and the vulnerable members of the society, stressing that the Soludo Administration in state will continue to hit harder on child traffickers.

The Commissioner, while assuring to do everything within her powers to bring the third suspect, who is now at large, to book, further further warned intending offenders to turn a new leaf or leave the state.

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