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The Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 has recorded its first casualty as a Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Kubwa, Abuja has sentenced a 29 year old housewife, Mrs. Onyekachi Okafor to 9 Months imprisonment for violating aspects of the Act.

This is coming on the heels of the conviction of Mrs. Mavis Solomon by a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, River State presided over by Justice A. Liman. Mrs. Solomon was charged by NAPTIP to Court for purchasing a 10 Months old baby at the cost of N200, 000 from 2 others who are also under prosecution. The offence is contrary to Section 21 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment.

Mrs. Okafor who resides at Dape, along Karmo Road of Abuja was dragged to the FCT High Court by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on behalf of the Federal Government for willfully inflicting physical injury on a 10 year old boy (names withheld). The boy who served her and her family as a house help received severe razor blade cuttings from Mrs. Okafor, an act which is in violation of and punishable under section 2 of the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015.

Section 2 subsection 1 of the VAPP Act says,’’ A person who willfully causes or inflicts physical injury on another person by means of any weapon, substance or object, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or a fine not exceeding N100,000.00 or both’’.

Mrs. Okafor who was arrested by officials of NAPTIP in September 2015 had used a sharp razor blade to cut the victim on various parts of his body including his abdomen, left buttocks and thigh.

When the case came up on Monday, 4th July 2016, Mrs Okafor who was arraigned on a one count charge pleaded guilty of the offence. The presiding Judge, Justice N. Ogbonna therefore, found her guilty and sentenced her to 9 months imprisonment without an option of fine. No compensation was however, awarded to the victim.

It would be recalled that the former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan signed the Violence against Person (Prohibition) (VAPP) Act 2015 on 23rd May, 2015. NAPTIP was made the implementing Agency for the new Act.

The Act which applies only in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, prohibits all forms of violence against persons in private and public life and provides maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders.

Vincent Adekoye

For: Head, Press and Public Relations (NAPTIP)

The attention of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has been drawn to the news indicating that the Nigerian National Under- 17 Basketball Women team billed to participant in the FIBA Under- 17 World Championship in Zaragoza, Spain have been denied visa by the Spanish Embassy based on a letter from the Agency.

We deny this report in entirely. NAPTIP never wrote to the Spanish embassy or anybody at all on this matter.

It is true that the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) through a letter signed by its Secretary- General, Okeke Patrick. N wrote a letter to the Agency seeking assistance for the team. Calls were made to the Secretary -General to visit the Agency to clarify the type of assistance needed. He said he will not be able to come but that he will send his deputy. Till today, nobody came from NBBF on the matter and there was no basis to write to anybody or Embassy on it.

When the news broke a while ago, my Ag. Director-General, Alhaji Abdulrazak Dangiri and I called the Embassy of Spain in Abuja to confirm the information and we were pointedly told that NAPTIP HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE VISA DENIAL. We were also informed that the visa application was denied based on three issues:

i. The application was full of irregularities;

ii. The application came late and;

iii. The person who signed the application was late and couldn’t have signed such an application.

It is important that the Basketball federation informs the nation the true position of this matter and not look for anybody to put the blame on.

This is the true position.

Josiah Emerole

Head, Press and Public Relations (NAPTIP)