The Children, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, on Monday, remanded two reverend sisters of a first generational church (name withheld), for illegal dealings and fraudulent adoption of children.

Their names were given as Reverend Sister Angela Onyenachi Ibe, aged 42, and Mother-General, Reverend Sister Chiemelie Jacinta Yvonne, aged 41.

The defendants were arraigned on a four-count charge of conspiracy, obtained by pretence, punishable under sections 495(a) and 386 of the Criminal Code, Cap 36, Volume II, the Revised Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria, 1991.

They were also charged with illegal dealings with children as well as fraudulent adoption, punishable under Section 30(2)(b) of the Child’s Rights Law of Anambra State, 2004.

However, when the charge was read to the defendants, to the satisfaction of the honourable court, they each, pleaded not guilty to the offences.

Responding to questions during the arraignment, the two defendants stated that they both hailed from Imo State.

They also added that they were staff members and attendants at the Sam Damian Community Children’s and Old People’s Home, located at Obosi in Anambra State.

In a bail application, on behalf of the defendants, the defence counsel prayed to the honourable court to grant bail to the defendants, because they were reverend sisters of a first generational church and would religiously attend their trials, whenever called upon to appear before the court.

Delivering a ruling on the bail application, the Presiding Chief Magistrate, Genevieve C. Osakwe, described the ground of the bail application as very weak, and unknown to the law.

The magistrate frowned at and vehemently bemoaned what she termed, “the rising cases of illegal adoption and dealings on children, in Anambra State,” and called on the security agencies in the state, especially, the police authorities, to “extend their search, arrest and prosecution of all persons involved in the management of illegal community children’s and old people’s homes, across the state”.

The case was therefore adjourned further to May 29 and June 26, 2024, for a definite hearing.

The Court ordered that the defendants be remanded at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Awka.


@ Punch Newspaper

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