Akwa Ibom State High Court in Okoita, Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, on Monday sentenced one Kingsley Etim Eyo, 34, to 10 years in prison for abducting his six-year-old cousin, Goodnews Essien.
It was established that Eyo, a native of Ikot Otoinyie village in Uruan Local Government Area connived with his friend and abducted the boy in 2018 and sold him. The six-year-old has not been found till today.
The presiding judge, Justice Okon Okon said the convict abducted the victim from the custody of his mother when she sent him to buy garri in Ikot Otoinyie Village, Uruan.
Earlier, the convict pleaded not guilty to the charge leading to the full trial with the prosecution team from the State Ministry of Justice, led by Barrister Comfort Udo, an assistant director of prosecution, calling three witnesses.
The prosecution also tendered four exhibits, including the Police Investigation Report, dated 20th September 2018, and the confessional statements of the convict in which he admitted that his percentage from the human trafficking of the child was N80,000.
Part of the confessional statement read: “The money that we sold Goodnews [for] is with Joshua. My percentage of that money is N80,000. Yes, myself, Denis Joshua went to a native doctor, Cletus from Ikot Akpa Ekong village in Uruan Local Government Area to do charm in order to hide it from people.”
Delivering his judgment, Justice Okon said: “I have thoroughly and meticulously read and reflected on the entirety of the extrajudicial statements of the defendant and have appraised, scrutinised and evaluated same with the evidence of prosecution witnesses and I can infer that the defendant worked in close collaboration with his friends and cohorts in taking away Goodnews Kufre Essien from the custody of his mother, the PW1.
“I have also taken into consideration the relationship of the defendant with PW1 (his aunt) and the child victim in this case. The defendant betrayed and compromised his close relationship with PW1 and her abducted child who according to the defendant calls him “Uncle.”
The judge said: “The prosecution has, beyond reasonable doubt, proved the guilt of the defendant for child abduction as charged and I, therefore, find the defendant guilty. The defendant, Kingsley Etim Eyo is sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.”