Friday, February 23, 2024

Minor, two others face trial for kidnapping children in Ebonyi

A 13-year-old Junior Secondary School 1 student, Tobenna Anosiobi, his mother, and the mother’s lover, have been arraigned before a Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital for allegedly abducting four minors in Abakaliki.

It was learnt that Anosiobi, in connivance with his mother, Ifeoma, 25, and her 26-year-old lover, Christopher Uthulor, had abducted four children between ages three to five years and sold them to an unidentified medical doctor resident at Isuocha, Abia State since 2018, before their arrest.

Names of the abducted children (all males) were given as Akachukwu Chuke (three-year-old), Chizaramekpere Ezema (5); Prince Obasi (5) and Chidera Nwogu (3).

Police investigations showed that the abductors sold the kidnapped boys out to some childless couple outside Eboyi State.

The trio were said to have contravened the Ebonyi State Child Rights and Related Matters Law 2010 contrary to and punishable under Section 516A(a) of the Criminal Code Cap 33 Volume 1 Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009. They were arraigned on February 5.

A police inspector at the police station told The Point that Anosiobi had confessed that he usually lure their victims (little kids) with his bicycle.

According to him, he rides his bicycle, which his mother bought for him on the street to the admiration of children who always plead to be given a free ride.

He disclosed that they usually abduct their victims under the guise of giving free bicycle ride to them in their house around St John’s Catholic Church, Abakaliki saying their clients in Aba usually paid N250,000 per child.

The accused persons, after listening to the charges, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Counsel to the accused persons, Nweke S.M, appealed for their bail, saying the first accused person is underage and that the offence is bailable on presentation of reliable surety.
However, the police prosecutor opposed the bail application on the ground that the accused persons could jump bail.
The trial Magistrate granted bail to the first accused person in the sum of N100,000 while bail was granted to the second and third accused persons in the sum of N500,000 each with sureties in like sum.
One of the sureties, the magistrate said, must reside within the jurisdiction of the court and must either be a civil servant or businessman with definite and verifiable business address.
Considering the ages of the complainants in the matter (the minors) the Magistrate ordered the transfer of the matter to the Family Magistrate Court.
Mrs Ezema Sandra, mother of one of the rescued kids living at number 25B, Oraifte Street, Abakaliki, said her son was abducted while playing in front of their house with other children on February 1 when suddenly he could no longer be found.
Narrating her ordeal in an interview with our correspondent in Abakaliki shortly after the court session, Mrs Ezema said her son, Chizaramekpere, towards the end of last year 2018, took ill but got miraculously healed in
January.
According to her, the family had planned thanksgiving ceremony slated for February 3 but unfortunately, the boy got missing in a mysterious circumstance while playing with his peers two
days earlier.
Mrs Ezema and family displayed rare faith by embarking on the scheduled thanksgiving ceremony with picture of Chizaramekpere despite his disappearance.
The boy, alongside three others, reportedly sold to the Aba-based doctor, was rescued and reunited with their parents in
Abakaliki.

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