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Two jailed for child theft, illegal adoption in Anambra

The Anambra State Children, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Court in Awka has delivered a guilty verdict against two suspects, Kingsley Okeke, 22, and Chukwuemeka Nweke, 27, for their involvement in child theft and illegal dealing in children.

The defendants were charged with four counts of child stealing, illegal dealing in children, fraudulently enticing away and harbouring a one-year-and-two-month-old baby boy, forcing him away from his parents, and inflicting physical injuries.

The charges are punishable under the Criminal Code, Child’s Rights Law of Anambra State, and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition and Protection) Laws of Anambra State.

In her judgment, Chief Magistrate Genevieve Osakwe found the defendants guilty on all four counts.

She criticized them for wasting the court’s time by telling lies under oath during the trial.

The court’s decision was based on the defendants’ testimonies, written depositions, and evidence presented by the plaintiff’s witnesses.

During sentencing, the defense counsel pleaded for mercy, citing the defendants’ good character and their expressions of remorse.

However, Chief Magistrate Osakwe emphasized that justice is not one-way traffic and considered the sentencing guidelines in Anambra State.

As a result, both defendants were sentenced to prison terms: one year for count one, six years for counts two and three, and two years for count four.

The sentences will run concurrently without an option to pay a fine.

Reacting to the verdict, Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare Ify Obinabo expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

She warned intending offenders to leave the state as the government would not hesitate to prosecute them.

She also commended the court for protecting children in the state and pledged to do everything possible to apprehend the third suspect who is still at large.

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