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 of Akwa Ibom State for sale in Aba, Abia State.
Monday Joshua Okon, a native of Ekpene Ikpan in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, was condemned today by an Uyo High Court having been found guilty by the presiding judge, Justice Okon Okon.
Okon, a married man with 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 standby child buyer.
He confessed to the Police that on the day of the incident, 20th July, 2018, he kidnapped the pupil during a graduation party in the school and detained her in his house in Ibesikpo Asutan for three days, until when his wife advised him to return the girl to where he picked her from, but the advice that fell on deaf ears.
Luck ran out of Monday Okon, 24th July, 2017, when on their way to AKTC Park, a good Samaritan saw the child covered with a clothe inside a tricycle and raised an alarm at Aka Road-IBB Roundabout in Uyo, which led to the arrest of Okon and Cecilia Ebong, who claimed to be the grandmother of the victim.
Okon admitted 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 fifty thousand Naira as his percentage with a promise that if he brings the second child, he will get N150,000.
In its judgement, the Court ordered that Monday Okon should die by hanging, while it sentenced Cecilia Thompson Ebong, a 44-year-old native of Ikot Offiong Nsit in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area, to five years in prison
Justice Okon Okon said “it is unfortunate and depressing that people still indulge in callous trade of human persons particularly children despite efforts of 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 proclovity tendency.”
Justice 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 3, Monday Joshua Okon is sentenced to five years imprisonment. The sentence are to run concurrently. In Count 3, the second accused, Cecilia Thompson Ebong is sentenced to five years imprisonment.”