A 36-year-old man has been sentenced to death for kidnapping a three-year-old girl from her school in Mbierebe Obio, Ibesikpo Asutan local government area.
Monday Joshua Okon, a native of Ekpene Ikpanin Nsit Ibom local government area, was condemned Thursday by an Uyo High Court presided over by Justice Okon Okon.
Okon, a father of two children was sentenced alongside one Cecilia Thompson Ebong who helped him to hold the child inside a tricycle they boarded to AKTC Park, where the victim was to be transported to Aba for a buyer.
He confessed to the Police that on the day of the incident, July 20, 2018, he kidnapped the pupil during a graduation party in the school and kept her in his house in Ibesikpo Asutan for three days despite advice by his wife to return the girl to where he picked her which he refused to heed.
However, luck ran out of Okon when on their way to AKTC Park, a good Samaritan saw the child covered with a cloth inside a tricycle and raised an alarm at Aka Road-IBB Roundabout in Uyo, which led to the arrest of Okon and Ebong, who claimed to be the grandmother of the victim.
Okon confessed that he was to deliver the child to an Igbo woman, 42-year-old Charity Nwachukwu, whom he said he had previously sold a male child to in 2017 and got N50,000 as his pay.
In its judgment, the court ordered Okon’sexecution by hanging while Ebong, a 44-year-old native of Ikot Offiong Nsit in Nsit Ibomlocal government area, was sentenced to five years in prison.
The judge said, “It is unfortunate and depressing that people still indulge in callous trade of human persons, particularly children, despite efforts of the government to stem the ugly trend.”
He said, “The recourse to child buying and selling is appalling and indefensible and no punishment will be excessive to deter people from such proclivity tendency.”
Okon held that “In count 1, the sentence of the court upon you, Monday Joshua Okon, is that you be hanged by the neck until you be dead and may God have mercy on your soul.”
“In count 2, Monday Joshua Okon is sentenced to five years imprisonment. The sentences are to run concurrently.
“In count 3, the second accused, Cecilia Thompson Ebong, is sentenced to five years’imprisonment.”