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The Supreme Court of Nigeria has upheld the conviction of a human trafficker, Martina Opara, and subsequently sentenced her to 14 years imprisonment for trafficking in persons. The decision of the apex court brings to an end the prolonged legal battle which started in 2008.

The convict, Opara, who was arrested in 2008 was charged to Court on a 9 counts charge including: procurement and movement from place to place of 3 girls; using and offering girls for prostitution in Nigeria; deceitful inducement of girls to go from Calabar to Sagamu and confined and detaining girls for prostitution. All the offences are contrary to sections 15(a) and section 19(a,b, and c) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003 (as amended in 2005).

On 19th April, 2012, a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta and presided over by Hon. Justice R.N Ofili Ajumogobia found her guilty of the charges and sentenced her to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour. Not satisfied with the judgment, Opara approached the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division which in 2014 in a unanimous decision dismissed the appeal for lacking merit.

Still not satisfied with the Appeal Court judgment, she went further to the Supreme Court. But in a unanimous decision delivered by Hon. Justice Mary Odili on Friday February 24, 2017, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decisions of the lower Courts.

Reacting to the Supreme Court judgment, Acting Director-General of NAPTIP, Mr. Abdulrazak Dangiri expressed delight that the matter has finally come to an end. He expressed the hope that the judgment would serve as a deterrent to human traffickers as the Agency was determined to follow all cases to a logical conclusion.

Hajara Tunde-Osho

For: Head, Press and Public Relations

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Wuse, Abuja, presided over by Hon. Justice M. M kolo, has sentenced a 48 – year-old man, Shehu Abubakar, to 12years imprisonment for sexually abusing two boys.

The convict was dragged to Court by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), under the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015. Shehu Abubakar had pleaded guilty to the two counts charge slammed on him by the legal team of the Agency after being confronted by overwhelming evidence and was subsequently convicted by the Court on both counts. The sentence is to run concurrently.

Investigation revealed that the defendant who is a resident of Gwagwalada, Gwagwalada Local Government Council, was arrested by the operatives of NAPTIP following a tip-off by some concerned residents who suspected the unholy relationship between him and the two boys.

It was learnt that the convict harboured the two boys, age between 14 and 15 years old in his apartment with the pretence of providing accommodation for them and in the process had canal knowledge of them continuously through their anus.

This conviction brings to two the convictions secured by the Agency under the Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015.

Reacting to this conviction, Acting Director-General of NAPTIP, Mr. Abdulrazak Dangiri expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the case. He however, added that the Agency will not rest on its laurels in dealing with the issues of violence against persons in Abuja.

Vincent Adekoye

For: Head, Press and Public Relations