By Ononye VC
The Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Chief Magistrate Court, sitting in Awka, has sentenced a 35-year-old woman to prison in Awka for offences of child labour, child exploitation, abduction of children and child stealing.
The convict, one Success James, was prosecuted before the court on an 8-count charge and found guilty of seven charges by the presiding court.
Delivering judgement on the case, the presiding chief magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe, found Success James guilty of count 1 and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment, and count 2 attracted five years’ imprisonment. She was slammed two years’ imprisonment in count 3, four years’ imprisonment in count 4, and two years’ imprisonment in count 5. In count 7, she was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, while count 8 attracted a one-year imprisonment.
The chief magistrate, however, declared that all the sentences would run concurrently, without any option of a fine.
Success James was earlier apprehended in Onitsha and arraigned before the Chief Magistrate Court in Awka sometime in December 2022 for abducting four teenage girls and subjecting them to child labour and sexual exploitation.
Recall that in the same month, the four teenage girls were rescued by the commissioner for women and social welfare, Ify Obinabo, about two days to Christmas.
The girls, who are between 13 and 15 years of age, all hail from Akwa Ibom State.
In their separate pieces of evidence before the court, the victims told the court that they were lured into prostitution business by one Aunty Success, who told them that she had a job opportunity for them in Agbor, Delta State, where they would be selling drinks in a beer parlour; but on getting to Agbor, they discovered that it was prostitution work they were brought to do.
Reacting to the judgement, Commissioner Obinabo expressed happiness over the speedy trial of the case and revealed that the children had been enrolled in school, while those who preferred to acquire skills had started learning skills of their choice at the state-owned Skills Acquisition Centre in Awka.
Obinabo went further to warn that the Anambra State government would not tolerate any crime of such nature and would continue to do its best to ensure that children and women in the state got justice whenever their rights were violated.