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Court Jails Two For Human Trafficking

A Federal High Court, sitting in Benin and presided over by Honourable Justice A M Liman, has sentenced forty-nine years old Mrs. Ehie Christy Ehirobo, to nine years imprisonment for human trafficking.

The convict, who hails from Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, was arraigned by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in 2011, on a three-count charge of procurement of person for prostitution, deceitful inducement and organising foreign travels which promote prostitution. These acts contravene various provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibitions) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003 (as amended).

Mrs. Ehie Christy Ehirobo, was alleged to have recruited the victim, a secondary school dropout, for her sister, Esther Ehirobo, aka Margret, who lives in Greece. Prior to her departure for Greece, the victim was taken to Oguname Shrine at Isuwa village in Orhionmwon LGA of Edo State, where she was administered into oath by a juju priest, after which the oath materials, comprising of different body parts, were sent to Greece.

On arrival in Athens, where Esther (aka Margaret) resides, the victim was subjected to another round of oath-taking, and subsequently beaten into submission for prostitution. She managed to escape to the Nigerian embassy in Greece, where she was handed over to the Trafficked Victims Unit, and later deported back to Nigeria.

In his judgment, Hon. Justice A M Liman said human trafficking has eaten deeply into the society and that despite the plea of allocutus, the law must take its cause. The accused was therefore sentenced to three years imprisonment on each of the three counts to run concurrently.

In a related news, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has also convicted Mr. Charles Osagie (aka Johnson), and sentenced him to jail for human trafficking.

The thirty six years old man, who is from Edo state, Nigeria was charged to court by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) after being intercepted by officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service at the Seme border, in the company of eight young girls, trying to cross into Benin Republic. Upon interception, the suspect was handed over to NAPTIP for further investigation, after which he was charged for the recruitment of eight young women for the purpose of external trafficking.

The presiding Judge, Justice O.O. Oguntoyibo, following an admission of guilt and a plea for leniency by the defendant, sentenced Mr.Osagie to one year in prison without an option of fine. Seven of the young women rescued reported that they were recruited via social media, through Facebook and WhatsApp Chat groups specifically, while one of them accused Osagie of hypnosis. The victims were lured with the promise of getting jobs for them in Ghana as domestic helps. At the time of filing this report, the victims have been reunited with their families.

The Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, reacting to the information lauded the efforts of the prosecution team, and used the opportunity to call on the Greek authorities to replicate the prosecution done by NAPTIP and convict the Greek-based human trafficker. This is in line with her opinion that the foreign countries where these Nigerian traffickers reside and operate from should do their bit in terms of prosecution and repatriation. According to her, “if we prosecute the human traffickers here, while those that reside in these foreign countries are allowed to go scot-free, they will continue to recruit young girls, operate freely, and it all becomes an effort in futility”.

The NAPTIP boss further cautioned young Nigerians not to heed to bogus job advertisements on Social Media, as they have become a fertile ground for recruiting young unsuspecting Nigerians into human trafficking. “Human traffickers have realised that a lot of youths while away time on social media, and have decided to target them on these platforms, recruit them and move them to Saudi Arabia, Oman, and other countries under the guise of domestic work”, said Dame Julie Okah-Donli. She enjoined the members the public to report such to NAPTIP.

Nneka Aniagoh
Press and Public Relations Unit
16th October, 2018