…2 others granted bail
By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
Four persons including an Abu Dhabi-based Rita Chinenye Ani and her elder sister, Ngozi Stella Nnamani Ani were today arraigned before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja for engaging in human trafficking.
The others charged by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, are Ozigi Abdulkarim and Princewill James.
The four defendants (two males and two females) were arraigned before the court presided over by Justice Yusuf Halilu by NAPTIP represented by the Chief Legal Officer, Mr. Aondona Orti.
The quartet were slammed with a 10-count charge bordering on trafficking on human beings contrary to Sections 13, 14, 18 and 26(b) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015. The NAPTIP legal team was led by Mr Aondona Orti, Chief Legal Officer.
It will be recalled that the suspects were arrested recently by operatives of NAPTIP in two operations in Gwarimpa, Abuja and Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Rita, who returned home from Abu Dhabi to perform her traditional marriage rites preparatory to moving to the United Kingdom with her fiancé, was arrested in Ibadan by the newly established NAPTIP- Rapid Response Squad (NAPTIP-RRS).
The lid on the suspects was blown when one of the victims returned from Abu Dhabi after four months of forced prostitution by Rita and under very excruciating conditions including flogging and the insertion of hot boiling ring into her vagina when she does not make enough money a day and forceful collection of the proceeds of the prostitution from her by Rita.
The Victim (name withheld) who is 19 years old was recruited from Gwarimpa, Abuja by her ex-boyfriend Ozigi Abdulkarim, Ngozi Stella Ani and Princewill James for onward transfer to Rita Ani in Abu Dhabi UAE.
They reportedly prepared her travel documents, took her to Ogbomoso, Oyo State where fetish oath was administered on her before the journey.
When the case came up today, the four defendants who were represented by counsel, pleaded not guilty to the 10-count charge proffered against them. Counsel to Rita and the elder sister Ngozi did not file a formal application for bail; hence the presiding judge ordered that they be remanded in prison custody.
Their Counsel had earlier made an oral application to the court for them to be remanded in NAPTIP custody, a request the court turned down.
Ozigi Abdulkarim and Princewill James on the other hand, had through their lawyer, M. Ojobor and Ugochukwu Opara made a formal application for their bail.
The Judge granted them bail based on the conditions that they must provide two sureties each, who must not be below the rank of a Director in the Public Service in Abuja and must be landlords in the FCT.
The case was subsequently adjourned to Wednesday13th September, 2017 for hearing.