By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- A Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on Thursday, arraigned a United Arab Emirates, UAE, based Nigerian woman, called Rita Chineye Ani with three others for engaging in human trafficking.
Names of the three other accused are Ngozi Stella Nnamani Ani (a.k.a Princess), Ozigi Abdulkarim and Princewill James.
The four defendants according to the Head, Press and Public Relations, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Josiah Emerole, in a statement signed by him said were arraigned by the agency and the case was presided over by Hon. Justice Yusuf Halilu.
According to the statement the Victim (Name withheld)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, which they prepared her travel documents, took her to Ogbomoso, Oyo State, where fetish oath was administered on her before the journey.
But when the case came up on Thursday, the four defendants who were represented by their counsel pleaded not guilty to the 10 counts charge proffered against them.
Although 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 which the Court turned down.
The statement reads in part: “Four persons including an Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirate UAE) based Rita Chinenye Ani and her elder sister, Ngozi Stella Nnamani Ani (A.K.A Princess) were today arraigned before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja for engaging in human trafficking. The other two are Ozigi Abdulkarim and Princewill James.
“They were taken to Court by NAPTIP on a 10 Count Charge that ran 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.
“The defendants were recently arrested 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 of these suspects was blown recently when one of the victims returned from Abu Dhabi after 4 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 prepared her travel documents, took her to Ogbomoso, Oyo State where fetish oath was administered on her before the journey.”
According to the statement Ozigi Abdulkarim and Princewill James on the other hand, had through their Counsel, 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 2 Sureties each and that the Sureties must not be below the rank of a Director in the Public Service in Abuja.
The sureties who must own a house each in the FCT must show proof of being in service by presenting their letters of first appointment and last promotion.
The case was subsequently adjourned to Wednesday September 13, 2017 for hearing.