A 47-year-old mother of three has been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for child trafficking in Akwa Ibom State.
The woman, Gertrude Akpan, a retired hospital matron was convicted by the Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, the state capital, for trafficking a 6-year-old boy.
She was said to have bought the child at the sum of N50,000, after which she took him to Owerri, Imo State where she sold him to one Kate Ojukwu Ogbonna, a native of Bende in Abia State at the sum of N200,000.
Presided over by Justice Okon Okon, the court found Akpan guilty of the offence and thereafter, gave the sentence without an option of fine.
The convict was said to have confessed that she has been in the trafficking business since 2008.
Delivering judgement in the case, the trial judge, Justice Okon Okon held that “apart from the confession of the convict, the evidence of the prosecution witness that she assisted the police in the recovery of the child victim from the buyer in Owerri, remained unchallenged and therefore accepted.”
He also held that the evidence of the prosecution is that one Ubong Charles Ekwere had on May 12, 2018, abducted the six-year-old boy in the lawful custody of his grandmother and sold him to the convict (Gertrude Akpan) at the sum of N50,000 and Gertrude in turn, sold the victim to Kate Ojukwu Ogbonna in Owerri at the sum of N200,000.
The presiding judge ruled that the convict was “guilty of unlawful removal and transfer of the child victim from Akwa Ibom State to Owerri, Imo State”.
Justice Okon also said: “it is sadistic that Gertrude, a mother of children, indulged in selling children of others, thereby depriving the innocent children of the natural love, care and upbringing by their parents.
“Such evil trade must be deprecated, forestalled and checkmated by every right-thinking member of the society,” he added.
Giving the sentence, the court held further that “buying and selling of children is against social and moral values of the people of Akwa Ibom State.”