By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, ordered the extradition of one Franca Asemota to the United Kingdom to face human trafficking charges.
The extradition order followed an application that was filed by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Asemota, who is 36 years old, was declared wanted by the UK government over his alleged involvement in trafficking of minors to Europe through London.
She was alleged to be the leader of a network that trafficked young women, mostly teenagers, from remote Nigerian villages into Europe, using Heathrow Airport as a transit hub.
The girls were promised education or jobs such as hairdressing in countries including France and Spain, but were forced into prostitution.
Asemota, was however, arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on March 24, 2015, in Benin, Edo State, on suspicion that she was involved in money laundering.
Upon her arrest, checks on her profile revealed that she had been on the wanted list of the National Crime Agency, NCA.
When the case came up, Monday, January 11, 2016, Asemota’s counsel, Mr. Ugochukwu Ezekiel, prayed the court to grant his client bail to enable her seek medical attention as she had spent almost a year in custody.
The application was vehemently opposed by government lawyer, Mr. Akuta Ukeyima, who urged the court to expedite the extradition process, saying the accused would get proper medical attention in the UK.
In a ruling, yesterday, Justice Abdul Kafarati said he was satisfied that the Asemota had a case to answer in UK.
Consequently, Justice Kafarati gave the Federal Government the nod to extradite her to the UK for prosecution.