The long arm of the law has caught up with two women and a man for stealing and selling a three year old baby for ritual purposes.
They are to die by hanging.
This was the verdict of an Abudu High Court, Edo State, when it found a step mother and two teachers guilty on Monday, for the conspiracy and murder of a three-year-old baby girl.
The convict, Betty Stephen, Johnson Ogbeide and Nancy Aiwuyor, were also sentenced to 14 years jail term for the offence of child stealing.
They were said to have committed the crime on February 24, 2009, at Erhiborhibo village in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the State.
The trial Judge, Justice Geraldine Imadegbelo, while delivering judgement in the case, said the Prosecution led evidence to the fact that the step mother of the victim gave the three-year old baby girl to one of the teacher, Johnson Ogbeide, who in turn gave same to his colleague, Nancy Aiwuyor, to be sold for ritual purposes.
Justice Imadegbelo held that the parents of the victim left the child in the custody of her step mother and went to farm but on that fateful day when they returned, they couldn’t find the child, only for the step mother to confess that she and the other convicts stole the child.
He also held that the Prosecution established that the victim was sold for the sum N1,500,000 and thereafter cut off her nine fingers while the hair was shaved as directed for the ritual.
According to the Judge, seven years after the victim disappeared in the hands of the convicts without being found, the court was safe to hold that the child was dead.
“In the instant case Exhibits B to D coupled with the evidence of the Prosecution witnesses and in particular the confessional statement of the DW2 on how the ritual was to be performed and the disposal of the remains all support the proof of the Prosecution’s case that the victim is dead.
“In the circumstances the DW1, DW2 and DW5 cannot exculpate themselves from the disappearance and death of the deceased.
“The acts of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons which caused the death of the deceased was unlawful, for this they are to die by hanging,” Justice Imadegbelo said.