A Federal High Court sitting in Sokoto, Sokoto State, has sentenced two young men, 25-year-old Lawali Alhaji Gado and 21-year-old Umar Abdullahi to jail for trafficking of underage girl for sexual exploitation.
The Court presided over by Hon. Justice Idrissa Kogu sentenced the two suspects who hail from Sokoto State and were charged to court on 8th December 2016 by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for procuring a 15-year-old girl for sexual exploitation.
This contravenes Section 16 (1) of the Trafficking In Persons (prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act (TIPPEA) 2015) which states that: Any person who procures or recruits any person under the age of 18 years to be subjected to prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation with himself, any person or persons, either in Nigeria or anywhere else, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than 7 years and a fine of not less than N 1,000,000.00.
A statement confirming this by Nneka Aniagoh, Press and Public Relations Unit of NAPTIP, on Wednesday indicated that in the course of the trial which commenced on 8th February 2017, the prosecution called two witnesses and tendered one evidence, while the defendant also called two witnesses.
At the end of the trial, the suspects pleaded guilty to the charge and were sentenced to five years imprisonment each with effect from 24th September 2018, and an additional fine of two hundred and fifty thousand naira each.
Reacting to the news of the conviction, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli commended the officers for their efforts.
She also reiterated the resolve of the Agency to stamp out human trafficking from Nigeria and warned detractors to cease from such acts as NAPTIP’s eyes are everywhere and will fish them out and make them pay for their crimes.
She used the opportunity to call for more speedy trials of cases of human trafficking, so as to ensure justice is served promptly, and victims can move on with their lives after successful rehabilitation and reintegration by the Agency.
She further called on victims of human trafficking to report to NAPTIP and bear witness against their traffickers.
She assured them of the Agency’s protection and dedication to their case in order to ensure that their traffickers are put behind bars.
This conviction brings the total number of convictions secured by NAPTIP since inception to 360.