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Akwa Ibom Sentences Three Women to Death for Child Kidnapping and Trafficking



Three Nigerian women have been sentenced to death by the Akwa Ibom State High Court for the kidnapping and selling of children. The women were found guilty of conspiracy and kidnapping, with these crimes punishable by death penalty. Upon arrest, the women confessed to their involvement in child trafficking. One of them, Gertrude Thompson Akpan, revealed that she would earn N500,000 (approximately USD 1,300) from each child that she kidnapped and operated as part of a syndicate involved in the trafficking of newborns. The other two women were convicted of the kidnapping and selling of a two-year-old girl. The death penalty remains legal in Nigeria, though Amnesty International reports that its use is often linked to human rights violations.

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Child trafficking is a pervasive problem in Nigeria, with thousands of children trafficked both internally and cross-border annually for various reasons including forced labor, sexual exploitation, and organ harvesting. According to the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), child trafficking is one of the most lucrative criminal activities worldwide, and it has become a problem in Nigeria. The Nigerian Government has laws to protect children from violence, exploitation, and abuse, but the implementation of these laws is lacking.


Efforts must be made by governments at all levels to combat child trafficking effectively. One key step is to strengthen child protection policies by ratifying international conventions and setting up programmes that would protect, identify and support vulnerable children who are victims of child trafficking but are often missed by law enforcement agents and non-governmental organizations.


In conclusion, while the death penalty remains controversial, it is essential to read judicial decisions in their broader context. It is evident that human trafficking, a rising crime in Nigeria, requires harsh punishment for anyone convicted. Governments must take bold steps to tackle these social problems by putting in place measures that will prevent, protect, and punish crimes against children in all forms to guarantee a safe, secure, and happy childhood.

Valek (