Suspects who sold missing Rivers baby for N350,000 jailed 24 years
A Rivers State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Port Harcourt has sentenced two persons to 24 years’ imprisonment with hard labour for stealing and selling a 28-month-old baby.
The court found Goodness Thompson, 35, who is a neighbour to the child’s parents, and Sunday Jonah, who died while in prison, as well as Kpereobong Emmanson, 28, guilty.
Chief Magistrate Amaka Amanze, in her judgment, said the trio were guilty of stealing and selling the only child of a widow for N350,000 and refusing to disclose the baby’s whereabouts.
She found them guilty under Section 39 of the Child Rights Act for stealing the child of Mary Gospel, who lost her husband to an inferno in Oyigbo last year.
Speaking to journalists outside the court room, counsel for the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Mrs Kemi Ogunaike, commended the court for ensuring that justice was served.
Ogunaike explained that shortly after noticing that her child was missing, the mother called Thompson, a neighbour, who sneaked into her apartment, while Mary was outside doing chores.
“To our amazement, she couldn’t find the first convict, Goodness Thompson, and her son. She started calling Thompson, who refused to take her calls and instead switched off the phone.
“Then the search started. The community boys apprehended the convict with the help of the police; they were also able to apprehend Kpereobong Emmanson, a lady, who Goodness Thompson gave the baby to.
“The court found them guilty of charges of conspiracy, child stealing and child trafficking, and they were sentenced accordingly.”
Ogunaike also explained that the two convicts refused to take the child’s family members to the buyer, identified as Mrs Esther, who is still at large.