By Ikeugonna Eleke
A Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court, sitting in Anambra State, has ordered the remanding of one Mrs Ekpereamaka Okonkwo, 39 years; and her husband, Mr Okechukwu Okonkwo, 36 years, in prison.
The woman was last week arrested after her brothel was busted by the youth of Oba Community in Idemili North Local Government Area, for using underage girls for prostitution.
She however escaped to Asaba, Delta State, and later sent her husband, Okechukwu Okonkwo, to bribe the Commissioner for Women’s Affairs and Children’s Welfare, Mrs Ify Obinabo, with the sum of N300,000, to enable her to return to business.
Obinabo, who played along, accepted the money and asked her husband to bring her for settlement, and she was arrested when she appeared.
The charge which was read to the defendants during Wednesday’s Court Sitting at the Magistrate Court, Awka, included committing official corruption, prevention of the course of justice and procurement of about 5 underage girls for prostitution purposes in Oba.
Their offences were said to be punishable under Section 495 (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 36 Vol II, Revised Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria, 1991.
The Media Assistant to the Commissioner, Miss Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, who monitored the court sitting, told journalists that the defendants pleaded not guilty to all the nine charges preferred against them.
‘They were however ordered to be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Awka, and Onitsha respectively, while the case was adjourned further to July 12, for ruling on bail application,’Ikeanyionwu said.
About nine girls, consisting of three girls aged 13, and some others not older than 19, were found in Mrs Okonkwo’s brothel.
Obinabo said she was still on the lookout for the girls so that they could be properly rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.