By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE & MICHAEL NWOPOKE
LAGOS— A 60-year-old self-acclaimed Pastor, Simon Dike, and three other persons were, yesterday, arraigned before an Ebute-Metta Chief Magistrate Court in Lagos, for allegedly selling a month and 18-day-old baby boy for N60,000.
The accused persons are Joy Uzochukwa, 27, the mother of the baby; Margaret Obinwa, 49, an auxiliary nurse and Chibuzor Ogbonna, 50, who was said to be the father of the baby.
The father of the baby is facing a two-count charge of conspiracy in human trafficking and selling of a new born baby, Obinwa; the auxiliary nurse is facing a one-count charge of purchasing the baby while Dike is also facing a two-count charge of human trafficking and failure to use all reasonable means to prevent the commission of the offence by the mother of the baby and the auxiliary nurse.
The accused persons, who were brought to the court by detectives from State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti in Yaba, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to the prosecutor, ASP Henry Obiazi, “all the accused persons are residents of Odongunyan, Ikorodu and the crime was committed on January 4, a day after the baby was born, at De-Ifes Medical Centre, Odogunyan, Ikorodu, Lagos.”
Obiazi informed the court that Uzochukwa went to meet Obinwa to help her abort the pregnancy as an auxiliary nurse but she encouraged her not to abort but sell the baby, adding that Obinwa then introduced Uzochukwa to Dike, who wanted to buy the baby. Dike has been married for 28 years without a child.
The prosecutor said that Uzochukwa signed an undertaking not to demand for the baby after collecting the money, which she accepted the offer.
“Uzochukwa left Ogbonna who impregnated her because he didn’t take care of her and married another man, called Kingsley, who later hatched the plan to sell the baby boy to the men of Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC, that later reported the case to the police,” the prosecutor added.
However, the Chief magistrate, Miss S.O Solebo, who presided over the case granted Uzochukwa and Dike bail in the sum of N100, 000 each with a responsible surety in like sum, while Obinwa and Ogbonna were granted bail in the sum of N200, 000 each with two sureties in like sum.
Solebo ordered that the baby should be taken to Lagos State Motherless Babies
home on Victoria Island, Lagos and that Uzochukwa should be permitted to see the baby under the supervision of the matron of the Home.
The case has been adjourned, March 13 for further hearing.