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U.S. based Nigerian, sister arraigned for alleged child theft

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A Port Harcourt Magistrate Court yesterday arraigned a 47-year-old Nigerian, who is based in the United States of America, for alleged child theft and child trafficking as contained in a charge brought by the Rivers State police command.

The accused person, Precious Obasi, who was arraigned alongside one Esther Igwe, is standing trial on a three count charges in suit number PMC/1260c/2018.

The accused allegedly got three children (two girls and one boy) at Igwuruta town in Ikwere Local Government Area of the state and took them to a hotel in Port Harcourt, where she claimed she gave birth to the triplets.

She, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges as she told the court that the children were her biological children.

According to the charges, the accused conspired and stole three kids between May 25 to June 10, 2018 at L.A Kings Hotel, along Stadium Road, Elekahia Port Harcourt.

The prosecutor noted that the offence of Child Stealing was punishable under Section 516A (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Vol. II Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.

The accused told the court that it was when it became difficult for her to take care of the babies in the hotel where she lodged that she invited her younger sister, Esther Igwe, from Owerri to assist her.

She said she decided to give birth to the children in Nigeria because she didn’t want to deliver them through caesarean section as was advised.

However, the Investigative Police Officer in the matter, told the court that when they got the information about the accused from the management of the hotel, they arrested her and also went to the maternity where she claimed she delivered the babies in Igwuruta only to find that the woman she (Precious) claimed helped her to deliver the children has run away.

Meanwhile, the presiding Chief Magistrate, F.N Amanze, has directed the amendment of the entire charges and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in custody. The matter was adjourned till June 28 for mention.

Reacting to the matter, Vice Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Rivers State branch, Uchennda Bibiana Okogbule, said the union got involved in the matter after the police briefed them about the arrest of the accused persons.

Okogbule said the process of the childbirth in the matter looks suspicious, saying that upon investigation they discovered that the first accused paid N900 million to someone’s account within the period she claimed she delivered the babies.


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