Emmanuel Bassey and his wife, Esther, have been sentenced to three years imprisonment by the Sokoto Magistrates’ Court for starving and confining their 12-year-old niece, Joy Emmanuel, in an unused fridge for eight months.
The couple had claimed they locked up Joy and deprived her of food because of her “unstable mental condition”, a claim which was later proved to be false by the police.
Delivering his judgement, Chief Magistrate Shu’aibu Ahmad, ruled that the couple was found guilty of cruelty to a child and sentenced them to 12 months imprisonment with N100,000 fine each, and in default they would spend three years in prison.
He also fined the couple N25,000 or six months jail term for criminal conspiracy, and another N50,000 for wrongful confinement and in default they would spend 12 months in prison.
Ahmad, however, said the husband and wife would serve the sentences concurrently as he granted their two children — Goodness Emmanuel and Happiness Emmanuel — bail in the sum of N500,000 and one surety each in the like sum.
The State Police Command had rescued the victim at her guardians’ home in the Sokoto Cinema area of Sokoto North Local Government Area, where she was kept in unused fridge in the compound and starved of food for eight months.
The command’s spokesman, ASP Sanusi Abubakar, said: “When our men broke the door of the cage, the girl was too frail to walk because she was emaciated.
“We met her in a very horrible situation, urinating and excreting inside the cage. The girl was taken to the Specialist hospital for treatment.”