Nigeria: Court Jails Woman for Human Trafficking - NAPTIP

5 February 2019

The Federal High Court in Osogbo, Osun State, has sentenced a 29-year-old woman, Sekinat Owolabi, to nine years imprisonment for human trafficking.

This information was contained in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on Tuesday.

Ms Owolabi was arraigned by NAPTIP at court, on a three-count charge of organising the foreign travel of a 19-year-old female victim to Mali, for exploitative prostitution.

According to the statement, "This contravenes sections 15 (a), 16 and 19 (b) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 (as amended in 2005).

"The victim, who was rescued by the Nigeria Immigration Services and handed over to NAPTIP, aided the agency in the subsequent arrest of the suspect.

"Having listened to the witness and the evidence tendered by the Agency's prosecutors, the presiding Judge, Maureen Onyetenu, found the defendant guilty of the three-count Charge and sentenced Ms Owolabi to prison.

According to Ms Oyentenu, the defendant is to serve three years imprisonment on the first count, four years on the second count, and two years on the third count.

Ms Onyetenu added that the sentences are, however, to run concurrently for four years without an option of fine.

The statement adds that the director-general of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, while reacting to the news of the conviction, lauded the collaborative efforts of the officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service in rescuing the victim and handing her over to NAPTIP, which led to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect.

According to Ms Okah-Donli "This kind of collaboration among law enforcement agencies is what is needed in combating human trafficking in Nigeria.

"Our prosecutors will do their utmost best to successfully prosecute the human traffickers and cases handed over to us," she said.

It would be recalled that NAPTIP had, a few weeks ago, raised an alarm about the high number of Nigerian girls trafficked to Mali, and who are under sexually exploitative conditions.

Ms Okah-Donli also called on all concerned arms of government and the international community to help in working out modalities towards the successful rescue and effective rehabilitation of these Nigerian girls, the statement highlighted.

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