Okporua Otobrise, who kidnapped a journalist, has been sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment after a protracted legal battle that lasted six years.

Justice F.N. Azinge pronounced the judgment on Monday at the Delta State High Court in Asaba.

Otobrise kidnapped Monday Whiskey, a Warri-based journalist, on March 19, 2012 at Orhuwhorhun in Udu council area of the state.

Otobrise, who hails from Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state, and others who are now at large were found guilty of the crime after the prosecution counsel, a Deputy Director, T.P.I. Uriah, and E.S. Ifedora concluded their arguments.

Justice Azinge declared in his judgment that the sentence would serve as a deterrent to kidnappers in the country.

He said: “It is common knowledge that the spate of kidnapping is on the increase in Nigeria, particularly in Delta State.

“The sentence is to act as a deterrent to others who believe that kidnapping is a lucrative enterprise or business and to rid the society of people like the defendant who lived on crime.

“Therefore I will pronounce the sentence as is provided under the law. You James Okporua Otobrise is hereby sentenced as follows: Count I, 7 years imprisonment; Count II, 10 years imprisonment, to run concurrently. This is the judgement of the court.”

Kidnapping is punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code, Cap C21, Volume 1, Laws of Delta State of Nigeria, 2006 and Section 364 (2) of the Criminal Code, Cap C21, Volume 1, Laws of Delta State of Nigeria 2006.

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