The Akwa Ibom State High Court in Uyo, the capital city, has handed down a death sentence to three women involved in the heinous crimes of kidnapping and selling children.
Enobong Nsikak Sunday (38), Gertrude Thompson Akpan (48), and Mary Okon James (49) were found guilty of conspiracy and kidnapping, offenses punishable by death under Section 1 of the Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law, 2009.
Sunday, a mother of two from Atiamkpat in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, met her downfall in her last criminal act, which involved the kidnapping of a two-year-old girl she encountered at a vigil in Ifa Atai, Uyo.
She followed the child and her mother to their home and deceived the mother by claiming she needed to take the child to a hospital for treatment.
Along the way, Sunday attempted to bribe the mother with N5,000 to buy food at a nearby market, but the mother refused. Undeterred, Sunday returned to the woman’s house and successfully kidnapped the child.
Gertrude, a resident of Ikot Eyo in Nsit Ubium, admitted to making a profit of N500,000 per child she kidnapped and N200,000 for those brought to her for sale. She was implicated in the abduction of two children, aged two years and ten months, on December 16, 2018, at Abak Road, Uyo.
Gertrude deceived their mother by falsely claiming that the wife of the immediate past Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Martha Udom Emmanuel, was offering assistance to the underprivileged and that she would take her to the First Lady for help.
Mary Okon James, hailing from Obotim in Nsit Ibom, was also convicted for her involvement in the child trafficking network. She purchased one of the kidnapped children for N200,000 and later sold the child for N500,000 in Aba.
Justice Gabriel Ette, the presiding judge, strongly condemned the actions of the defendants during the trial. In his verdict, he expressed the gravity of their crimes and the impact they had on the innocent victims and their families.
Justice Ette declared the defendants guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging, emphasizing that they would never be fit to walk freely in society again. He concluded his statement by invoking divine mercy upon their souls.