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A Federal High Court sitting in Kano and a High Court of Justice, Benin-City have sentenced four persons to various jail terms in addition to various fines for committing offences contrary to the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015. One person was convicted in the Kano case while three persons were convicted in the Benin case.

In Kano, on Wednesday 12 April, 2017, Honourable Justice K.K Dagat of the Federal High Court, Kano, Court 2 convicted one Yunusa Umar who was charged to Court by NAPTIP on behalf of the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation for procuring a 13year old girl and having regular unlawful carnal knowledge of her, contrary to the trafficking Act.

On arraignment on the case with Charge number FHC/KN/CR/54/2017, Yunusa pleaded guilty to the one count charge and was convicted. He was subsequently sentenced to 15years imprisonment and in addition, to pay N1million fine.

Similarly, the Agency secured another conviction at the High Court of Justice, Benin City in another case of sexual exploitation in which two Secondary School Students were trafficked contrary to the provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.

The Accused Persons are Ngozi Owoh (F) (22), Ahmed Babatayo Femi (M) (33) and Odigie Iyobosa (M) (29). They were arraigned on 5 counts charge including, Procuring an under aged girl for Prostitution, Organizing foreign travels which promotes Prostitution and Conspiracy to facilitate foreign travel. Delivering judgment in the case, Honourable Justice Alero Edodo-Eruaga found them guilty as charged

The 1ST accused person pleaded guilty to Count 1 to 5. She was a former victim of Human Trafficking and had been trafficked to Cote- de- Iviore, Libya and Morocco. She was sentenced to two (2) years imprisonment on each of the counts or a fine of #150,000 on each of the five (5) Counts. The 2nd and 3rd accused Persons were equally sentenced to two (2) years imprisonment or a fine of N150,000 on each of the two (2) Counts. The fines are cumulative while the sentence is to run concurrently.

The 3 accused persons had recruited their victims with promises of better life and opportunities abroad. Before embarking on the trip, they were taken to the shrine where oath of secrecy was administered.

As the sentence was pronounced, the accused persons burst into tears and wept profusely, pleading for mercy. However, Hon Justice Alero Edodo-Eruaga said they cannot obtain mercy for engaging in inhuman activities.

Reacting to the Convictions, the Acting Director-General of NAPTIP, Alhaji Abdulrazak Dangiri said there will be no hiding place for all traffickers. He stressed that the Agency was poised to bringing all offenders to book.

Hajara Lami Shehu

For: Head, Press and Public Relations.

After a protracted legal battle, spanning over 11 years, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Gwagwalada has convicted a human trafficker, Dr Joseph Danley Obiechie. The convict who claims to be a Clergyman with a Doctorate degree in Christian Counselling from the United Faith Ministry in Miami, Florida, USA was however, sentence to 10 years imprisonment on each of the 5 counts charge preferred against him. The sentence will run concurrently. He was also given an option of fine of N100, 000 on each of the count of the charges.

Dr Obiechie, promoter and President of Truth Talk Foundation (TTF) and Foundation for Correction of Moral Decadence (FCMD) was on the 6th February 2006 arraigned by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) before the FCT High Court, Gwagwalada for committing offences contrary to the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003 as ammended. He was convicted and sentenced on Wednesday by Honourable Justice M. Balami, in the case with suit No. CV/74/06.

The convict, 52 years (41 years as at the time of commission of the offence) was charged to court on 30th January, 2006 for deceitfully moving three under aged girls from Ibusa, Delta State to Lugbe District of the FCT, Abuja and harboured them in his house. The three girls were subjected to series of sexual and labour exploitations by the convict.

The convict uses his NGOs to run projects called ‘Moral Adjustment’ and deceived the girls and their families that he will engage the girls in his foundation’s activities and also assist them in their education.

While in the convict’s house, the girls were subjected to domestic work and daily compulsory sexual activities as he slept with them daily to satisfy his sexual urges.

The girls ages 15, 17 and 18 (at the time) suffered exploitation for eight months until one of them escaped from the house and ran to a nearby church where she reported to some officials who subsequently reported the matter to NAPTIP. NAPTIP immediately swung into action and in a sting operation in Lugbe, Abuja, arrested the convict and rescued the girls whom he held hostage.

During the trial of the case which spanned a period of over 11 years, the convict who had once served a jail term in the United States of America for arms dealing was at all times opposing every procedural step taken by the prosecution and seeking for adjournments to delay the trial or frustrate the Agency to drop the case. However, the prosecution remained resolute and focused.

Reacting to the conviction, the Acting Director-General of NAPTIP, Mr. Abdulrazak Dangiri, said that NAPTIP has been vindicated at last. He explained that after a tortuous and rigorous trail, justice has been done. He also commended the three victims and other witnesses who gave useful evidence during the trial for their bravery and courage.

While appreciating the efforts of all key players leading to the conviction, he also commended the judiciary for its unwavering efforts in meting out punishment to human traffickers.

Josiah Emerole

Head, Press and Public Relations (NAPTIP)