A Federal High Court, sitting in Enugu State, has convicted two persons, Ernest Obieze and Ferdinand Okechukwu, over unlawful procurement of an eight year old girl and having carnal knowledge of her.
The convicted persons were sentenced to five years jail term each with additional fine of N100, 000 each. They are also to serve additional three years in prison if they fail to pay the fine.
The convicted persons were arrested by operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Enugu Zonal Command following a tip-off and were subsequently charged to court on a seven count charge.
Delivering judgment in the case with charge number FHC/EN/78/2013, the Presiding judge, Justice D. V Agishi, held that the prosecution had successfully proved a case of having unlawful carnal knowledge and procurement for unlawful carnal knowledge preferred against the two accused persons.
He consequently pronounced them guilty and sentenced them.
Commenting on the development, Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dame Julie Okah-Donli, commended the court for the landmark judgement, saying that the convicts deserved the punishment.
She added: “I commend the court for the judgement. I want to sound this as a warning to those evil minded fellows who take delight in procuring our promising children for prostitution or any other unlawful activities that NAPTIP is gradually closing in on them.”
She further said: “We have intensified our surveillance efforts as well as other intelligence gathering mechanisms to ensure that our children are safe wherever they are in Nigeria and beyond. I also want to appeal to Nigerians to join hands with NAPTIP to expose these questionable people whose sole interest is to procure traffic and exploit our children, thereby denying them the opportunity of becoming what they want to become. This is why we must key into the whistle blowing policy of the Agency to expose the traffickers.”