Child stealing, illegal dealing land 2 in Anambra prison 

Awesome Ekene 

Two men have been sentenced to multiple jail terms by the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court of Anambra State.

The convicts, Kingsley Chinedu Okeke (22) and Chukwuemeka Nweke (27) were arraigned before the Court, sometime in 2023, on a-4 count charge to wit: 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.

The offences are 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 judgment on the case, presiding Chief Magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe said the defendants were found guilty of all 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.

“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 noted.

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

The Chief Magistrate acknowledged that in Law, justice is not a-one-way traffic, and stated that in passing sentences on the defendants, Court would not be unmindful of the existing practice directions, prescribed in the Sentencing Guidelines of Anambra State of Nigeria.

Accordingly, the two defendants 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, 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. 

She also appreciated 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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