A Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court, sitting in Awka, Anambra State, has sentenced a 42-year-old woman, Victoria Enwerem (Anosike) to multiple jail terms for stealing five children in Onitsha.
Enwerem was arraigned in Court on a-3 count charge: conspiracy to steal children; fraudulently enticing away and harbouring children, and forcefully isolating the children from the lawful possession of their parents, punishable under the Criminal Code, Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria, 1991, and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition and Protection) Laws of Anambra State, 2017 respectively.
The five stolen children were between ages of 3 to 10 years old.
Delivering judgement on the case, the presiding Chief Magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe stated that the defendant had been found guilty of all the three charges brought against her.
The Chief Magistrate noted that, based on the the oral testimonies of the defendant herself and the submissions of the plaintiff witnesses, as well as, other materials placed before the Court, in respect of the case, there were overwhelming pieces of evidence against the defendant, and the prosecutor had proved his case beyond reasonable doubts.
She slammed Enwerem with 4 years imprisonment in count 1; 8 years imprisonment in count 2; and a term of 6 months imprisonment in court 3, and declared, declaring that all the sentences would run concurrently, without option of fine.
According to the police prosecutor who prosecuted the case, Victoria Enwerem (Anosike) in September 2022, conspired with one Oluchi Ahamefula, now at large, to steal children at the popular MCC Junction, Onitsha, Anambra State, with a view to moving the children to an unknown destination, but luck ran out on her, when she was caught by officers of the Nigerian Police Force, who were on stop and search operation, at Oraifite in Anambra State.
She was granted bail, but jumped bail and was later tracked and apprehended at a remote part of Ebonyi State, in possession of two other underaged kids, who she allegedly stole from their parents. It was later discovered that she had continued her business of stealing children, while hiding in Ebonyi State.
Victoria Enwerem was arraigned before the court, a second time, during which she told the court that her defence Counsel, one C. D. Nwaka-Ohuoha, Esq, deceived her, collected the sum of an undisclosed amount of money from her and informed her to stop going to Court, with promise that the defence Counsel would scuttle the case pending in Court and ensured that the defendant would never go to prison.
The presiding Magistrate condemned and expressed sadness over the attitude of the defense Counsel, C. D. Nwaka-Ohuoha, Esq, who from the evidence of the defendant, deceived the defendant and told her to stop coming to court; describing the attitude of the defense Counsel as an unprofessional legal practice.
The Chief Magistrate further commended the Nigerian Police Force for their doggedness and commitment, especially, as it regards tracking and recapturing the Victoria Enwerem to face her trials.
She also urged the women and Social Welfare Ministry, Awka, to as a matter of urgency, write to the Ministry of Women Affairs, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to see that the Orphanage Home, allegedly being managed by the Victoria Enwerem, is closed down.