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.
For: Head, Press and Public Relations (NAPTIP)