By Peter Duru, Makurdi
A Makurdi Federal High Court presided over by Justice Abdul Dogo has sentenced a 24-year-old lady, Mercy Sese to seven years imprisonment for trafficking young girls to Mali for sexual exploitation.
The court, however, availed the convict an option of N4.5million fine for the offense after she had pleaded guilty to the seven count charge preferred against her.
The matter was brought before the court for the offense committed contrary to the provisions of Sections 18, 27 and 29 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015.
It would be recalled that in January 2022, the Makurdi Zonal Command of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person, NAPTIP, arrested the convict at a popular motor park in Makurdi
According to the Makurdi Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Mrs. Gloria Bai, at the time of the arrest, the victims and huge sums of money including foreign currencies were recovered from the convict.
She said the Command had in the early hours of Friday, January 7, 2022 effected the arrest of the suspect after a tip-off from a concerned citizen from Duku Motor Park, Wurukum Makurdi, who alerted the office of a suspected case of human trafficking involving seven ladies though one of them was the suspected trafficker.
“Officers of the command arrived at Duku Motor Park some few minutes after receiving the call and met the six ladies and the suspect who said they were all travelling to Lagos.
“The victims were between the ages of 16 – 24 by facial analysis. At the time of our arrival, the Police were also on the ground because their attention was also drawn to the matter.
“About N500,000 was found on the suspect alongside some foreign currencies indicating that the victims were to be moved to a destination outside the country.” she had said.
Reacting to the ruling Thursday, the Zonal Commander commended the court for giving the victims justice saying, “we are happy that she was convicted and sentenced, it will serve as deterrent to others who might want to go the same way.”