The Lokoja Chief Magistrate’s Court on Monday arraigned a 49-year-old farmer, Gabriel Ajor, for allegedly abducting and selling seven children, including his two sons and an eight-year-old baby, for N400,000.
Ajor was alleged to have abducted and sold the children under the guise of sending them to schools in Owerri and United States of America, USA, the accused was said to have tricked the parents of five of the children, Kenneth Omale and John Attah, into releasing their children.
In his statement, the prosecuting police officer, ASP Cornet Ayabatu, said the accused, who is from Nwajala in Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State, between March and June, criminally conspired with others now at large to commit the offence.
ASP Ayabatu said that the matter was reported on July 8 by Kenneth Omale of Nwajala at the police area command office, Idah and Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Lokoja.
He added that the children, Goodway Kenneth, 5; Kindness Kenneth, 3; Shedrack John, 6; Goodday John, 6; Confidence Ojonuba, eight months old; Gift Gabriel, 6 and Destiny Gabriel, 3, all male, were allegedly taken to an undisclosed destination.
Ayabatu said police investigation led to the arrest of Ajor, who confessed that he was paid N400,000 for the seven children by one Malik in Owerri, Imo State.
He was charged with criminal conspiracy and kidnapping contrary to sections 97(1) of the Penal Code and Section 4(1), punishable under section 4(3)(a) of Kogi State Kidnapping and other Related Offences (Prohibition) Law 2015.
The prosecutor however, told the court that investigation into the matter was in progress and asked for adjournment to enable the police address some grey areas.
In his ruling, the Chief Magistrate, Alhassan Husaini, said that he was inclined to put on hold all ancillary applications connected to the case till the next sitting in view of the weighty and serious nature of the allegations.
Husaini, therefore, ordered that the accused be remanded at the state CID detention facility in Lokoja and adjourned the case to August 24 for further mention.