The Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State, has sentenced 49-year-old Ehie Ehirobo to three 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.
Mrs Ehiroba, who hails from Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, was arraigned by NAPTIP in 2011, on a three-count charge of procurement of persons for prostitution, deceitful inducement and organising foreign travels which promote prostitution.
According to the statement, “these acts contravene various provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibitions) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003 (as amended)”.
“Mrs Ehie Ehirobo, was alleged to have recruited the victim, a secondary school dropout, for her sister, Esther Ehirobo, also known as 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 also known as 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 on Tuesday, the judge, A. M. Liman, said human trafficking has eaten deeply into the society and the law must take its cause.
Mr Liman sentenced Mrs Ehiroba to three years imprisonment on each of the three counts to run concurrently.
Meanwhile in a similar case, a division of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has also convicted Charles Osagie also known as Johnson and sentenced him to jail for human trafficking.
The 36-year-old man, also a native of Edo State, was charged to court by the 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 his arraignment, Mr Osagie was handed over to NAPTIP for further investigation, after which he was charged for the recruitment of eight young women for the purpose of trafficking.
The presiding judge, 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. One of them accused Mr Osagie of hypnosis.
According to NAPTIP, the victims were lured with the promise of getting jobs in Ghana as domestic staff.
The statement added: ”The Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, lauded the efforts of the prosecution team, and thereby called on the Greek authorities to replicate the prosecution done by NAPTIP and convict the Greek-based human trafficker.
”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.”