The Akwa Ibom State High Court 7 sitting in Uyo, has sentenced three persons to death by hanging for kidnapping a four year-old boy.
The boy was said to have been kidnapped on November 18, 2016 in Ikot Inyang Idung village, Uyo local government area.
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The condemned kidnappers were 24 year-old Victor Etim Bassey and 35 year-old Aniediong Ezekiel Thompson, from Ikot Inyang Idung and Ifa Ikot Akpan respectively in Uyo local government area, Akwa Ibom State, and 30 year-old Chike Okeke, a native of Eziaja in Anaocha local government area of Anambra State.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Okon Okon who found the accused guilty of kidnapping, said the crime is punishable by death in section 1(2) of Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law, 2009.
He said “from the totality of the evidence of the prosecution within and confession of the accused persons in their statements to the Police, there was not lawful excuse that the child was taken away from his mother’s house.”
Justice Okon held that the 1st accused, Victor Etim Bassey took away the child to the second accused, Aniediong Ezekiel Thompson for monetary consideration, which they shared among themselves.
The Court said while Victor sold the four year-old to Aniediong at N200,000, Aniediong in turn, resold him to Chika at N450,000 who also sold to ‘one sister’ now at large at N550,000.
Justice Okon said, “with the help of the third convict, the child was recovered by the police in Nnewi and reunited with his family in Akwa Ibom”.
Recounting how her son was kidnapped, the mother of the four year old boy told the court that she left her son in the custody of his sibling on November 18, 2016, while she went to market.
She said the first convict (Victor), gave the child’s elder brother N50 to buy tom-tom sweet for him, only for him to return home to see that both his brother and the convict were not there.
Justice Okon said, “with the help of the third convict, the child was recovered by the Police in Nnewi and reunited with his family in Akwa Ibom.
“In a criminal trial, the guilt of the accused for the commission of any crime, can be proved by the evidence of an eyewitness, circumstantial evidence and confessional statements”.
While sentencing the three accused to death by hanging, Justice Okon prayed God to have mercy on their souls.