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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Two child traffickers bag 6yrs jail terms in Anambra

A 22-year-old man, Kingsley Okeke, and 27-year-old Chukwuemeka Nweke, have been sentenced to a six-year jail term by the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State.

They were sentenced barely a year after both young men were arraigned before the Court on a four-count charge bordering on child-related crimes in the state.

Crimes committed includes: Child Stealing, illegal dealing in children; fraudulently enticing away and habouring one-year-old and two-month-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.

Delivering a lengthy judgment on the case, the presiding Chief Magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe stated that the defendants were found guilty of all the four count charges brought against them, and chided the defendants for wasting the time of Court, by blatantly telling lies on oath, throughout the duration of the case.

Emphatically, the Court noted, “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”.

In a plea of allocutus, the defence counsel passionately prayed to the Court to temper justice with mercy, on the grounds that both defendants were first-offenders, and had sincerely expressed regrets for their wrongdoings.

However, His Worship, Genevieve Osakwe acknowledged that in Law, justice is not a-one-way traffic, and stated that in passing sentences on the defendants, the honourable Court would not be unmindful of the existing practice directions, prescribed in the Sentencing Guidelines of Anambra State of Nigeria.

Accordingly, the two defendants, Kingsley Chinedu Okeke and Chukwuemeka Nweke were both slammed prison terms 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.

“All the sentences would run concurrently, without any option of fine”, the Court declared.

Reacting to the news, the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the Court’s judgment and warned intending offenders to leave the state, as the present Soludo-led administration would not hesitate to put them where they belong.

Obinabo also appreciated the efforts of the Court in seeing that children are protected in the state, and promised to do everything within her powers to bring the third suspect, now at large, to book.

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