Justice Gabriel Ette, presiding over the Akwa Ibom State High Court in Uyo, has sentenced three women from the state to death. The trial judge, on Friday, convicted the trio of conspiracy and kidnapping, which are punishable by death under Section 1 of the Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Law, 2009.
They were found guilty of kidnapping and selling three children in Aba, Abia State.
Enobong Nsikak Sunday, a 38-year-old mother of two from Atiamkpat in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, was caught when she kidnapped a two-year-old girl she met at a vigil in Ifa Atai, Uyo. Enobong admitted in her statement that she followed the mother and child to their house and deceived her by claiming she would take the child to a hospital for treatment. Despite offering the child’s mother N5,000 to buy foodstuffs, she refused. Enobong later successfully kidnapped the child from the woman’s house in Ifa Atai.
The second convict, Gertrude Thompson Akpan, a 48-year-old native of Ikot Eyo in Nsit Ubium LGA, confessed to kidnapping two children, aged two years and ten months, on December 16, 2018, at Abak Road, Uyo. She deceived the children’s mother by falsely claiming that the wife of the immediate past Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Martha Udom Emmanuel, was offering assistance to people experiencing poverty and promised to take her to the First Lady for help. Akpan revealed that she made a profit of N500,000 per child she kidnapped and N200,000 for those brought to her for sale.
Likewise, Mary Okon James, a 49-year-old native of Obotim in Nsit Ibom LGA, admitted to buying one of the children for N200,000 and selling the child for N500,000 in neighboring Aba, Abia State.
In delivering the judgment, Justice Gabriel Ette emphasized that the confessional statements of the three women interconnected and established their involvement in a sophisticated syndicate for their criminal trade.
He Ruled: “For a woman to have gone to that extent, it means she has sealed her conscience with a hot iron and thereby become a threat to civilized society as every child is her potential victim.
“You have, by your conduct, disqualified yourself from continuing to walk free in organised society as every child is your potential victim. Mary Okon Bassey, a native of Obotim village in Nsit Ibom Local Government, it is your claim that you joined the trade of kidnapping and selling other people’s children in January 2017.
“You also claimed to have sold two female children in Aba before nemesis caught up with you. This, you did with no human empathy and not minding what fate awaits your innocent victims and what arrow you have caused to pierce the hearts of their hapless parents.
“You did this so you may live big and comfortable. How did you feel when you took two children from the same mother in your journey to selling them off for filthy lucre? You had caused your innocent victims sleepless nights, though providence smiled on her for her children to be recovered.
” You are a pest to society and not fit to walk the earth like a free woman again ever. You, in your lifetime chose to walk the pathway of crime and today, you will reap your reward.
“Those who murder sleep, do not deserve to dream. I find you guilty and the sentence of this Court on you is that you be hanged on your neck until you be dead and may the Lord have mercy on your soul”.