The three of them pleaded not guilty to a three-count-charge of conspiracy, kidnapping and receiving stolen child.
The Police in Lagos, on Tuesday, charged three women: Theresa Ezeala, 56; Augustina Oparaocha, 54; and Florence Ifeanyi, 52, at an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court with alleged kidnapping of a three -week-old baby.
The accused are facing a three-count-charge of conspiracy, kidnapping and receiving stolen child.
The three of them, who are residents of Ayobo area of Ipaja, a Lagos suburb, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Police Prosecutor, Insp Simeon Imhonwa, told the court that the accused committed the offence with others still at large, sometimes in November 2014 at Idi-Orogbo, Ayobo, Lagos.
Inhonwa alleged that the trio kidnapped the baby, the son of Chioma Nwakwu, the complainant in the case.
He told the court that the complainant used to live with Ezeala, her aunt, before she became pregnant and the supposed father denied responsibility of the pregnancy.
“At the time of Nwakwu’s delivery at Ifako- Ijaiye General Hospital, Agege, which was through caesarean section, the complainant could not afford the hospital bills and care of the baby.
“The second accused, Oparaocha, a nurse, then approached Ezeala to sell the baby to Ifeanyi, who was willing to adopt the baby at a price,’’ the prosecutor said.
Inhonwa said that without the knowledge of the complainant, Ezeala and Oparaocha sold the baby for N500,000 to Ifeanyi.
“The whereabouts of the baby was not disclosed to Nwakwu after she was discharged from the hospital until recently, when the accused were apprehended by the police,” the prosecutor said.
The offence contravened Sections 275, 326 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Section 275 prescribes 10 years imprisonment for anyone, who unlawfully captures and detains another against his or her will.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs B.O. Osunsanmi, granted the accused bail in the sum of two million naira, each with two sureties in like sum.
Osunsanmi said the sureties must be property owners within the court jurisdiction and should also provide evidence of two years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.
The case was adjourned to July 21 for mention.
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