Rivers Court sentences 22 year-old to 12 years in Jail For Child Trafficking

A Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has sentenced a 22-year-old girl, Joy Olaka-Wogu to four years in prison for stealing twin babies from their parents in 2018 and trafficking them.

She was sentenced four years in each of the three counts charge of child trafficking, conspiracy and theft which is expected to run concurrently. 

 Miss Olaka-Wogu who initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, later changed her plea to guilty after informing the court of her repentance. 

She also asked for forgiveness. In her judgement, Chief Magistrate, Amaka Amanze, who sentenced Olaka-Wogu accordingly, said available facts showed that the convict has been in the business of stealing and selling babies despite having skill as a hairstylist. 

 The Chief Magistrate further said the sentence was to deter her from indulging in such crime in the future, saying though she pleaded guilty, it was important the Court takes a stand against crimes such as child trafficking in the society. 

 She adjourned the matter to March 2, 2021, to hear the evidence of the second defendant who is denying that she bought the twins from the first defendant (Joy Olaka-Wogu). 

 Meanwhile, Paul Ephraim, lawyer to the convict, said he accepted the Court verdict but will find out if his client will consider an appeal. 

 On her part, counsel to the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Esther Achor-Korienta told newsmen that the verdict would serve as a warning to those still indulging in child trafficking.

 “Am so satisfied with the Court judgement. The Court always wears a human face. She has shown remorse and the sentencing today is four years. We hope and believe that this will serve as a deterrent to other child traffickers.

 “As you know this case of child traffickers is on the increase and we are just looking for a way to stop people from stealing other peoples’ children. If people want children, they can do legal adoption. They should not be abetting it,” she added.

 Our correspondent reports that the four years jail sentence is to run concurrently, as Miss Wogu has been in prison custody since 2018.

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