By Festus Ahon
ASABA—A chief magistrate court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, yesterday, sentenced one Onyemachi Alor to 11 years imprisonment without an option of fine for conspiracy and child stealing.
Alor was convicted on a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit child stealing and child stealing, offences punishable under Sections 516 and 371 of the Criminal Code Law Cap C21, Vol.1 Laws of Delta State, 2006.
Prosecution witnesses told the court that on May 21, 2014 the accused stole two young boys, aged five and seven, while they were playing in their housing estate, while pretending that he was taking them to have their hair cut.
“Rather than taking the boys, who usually referred to him as ‘uncle’ to the salon, he took them to Abia State, where he sold them for N700,000 and N400,000, respectively, to a woman, who kept them locked up in a room,” the witness added.
According to the witnesses, the accused person and his accomplice (the woman) were later arrested and handcuffed by two police officers, who disguised as potential buyers and recovered the boys.
He disclosed that the culprits were afterwards taken from Abia State to Delta State Police Command where they were charged to court.
Sentencing the accused, the Presiding Chief Magistrate, Okonkwo Okanume, held that the positive, direct and equivocal confessional statement of the accused coupled with evidence of witnesses established his guilt enough to sustain a conviction.
Okanume sentenced the accused person to five and six years imprisonment without option of fine in counts one and two, respectively.
He lamented that child stealing was very prevalent in the society, adding that those caught in the act should be punished to serve as a deterrent to others.