‘NAPTIP prosecutor told the court that the convicts committed the offences in November 2012’
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted and sentenced a retired policeman, Ariwayo Oloyede, aka Oyinbo, to one-year imprisonment for human trafficking.
The ex-police officer was convicted alongside a Burkina Faso-based Nigerian, Christian Owanebi, who was handed seven years jail for the same offence by Justice Abimbola Awogboro.
Justice Awogboro sentenced them after pronouncing them guilty of three counts of conspiracy and human trafficking, preferred against them by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons.
Delivering judgment, the judge said the prosecution proved all the charges against the convicts beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge held that the submissions made by the convicts’ counsel were an afterthought.
Justice Awogboro held that the first convict, Owanebi, who had jumped bail, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment on all the counts.
The judge, however, sentenced the ex-policeman, whom she said had been attending court consistently without default, to a year imprisonment on each count.
She held that the jail terms should run concurrently commencing from Friday, when the judgment was delivered.
The convicts were accused of conspiring with one another to procure a 19-year-old girl, Onyinyechi, for prostitution in Burkina Faso.
The NAPTIP prosecutor, Chinedu Akaegbu, told the court that the convicts committed the offences in November 2012.
Onyinyechi, who testified before the court in an emotion-laden voice, narrated how she was lured into prostitution by Oyinbo.
The victim said she was working as a maid in the Ajah area of Lagos when she was approached by Oyinbo, who promised to secure a job for her as a supermarket attendant in Burkina Faso.
She alleged that the suspect charged her N200,000 for her travel expenses and to secure the job for her, but later reduced the charges to N150,000 after she allowed him to have sex with her.
The victim said they embarked on the journey without telling her mother, but when she got to Burkina Faso, the suspect seized her handset, before he handed her over to a woman called Madam Eunice, whom she alleged was a social sex worker.
Onyinyechi said the woman assigned her to a hotel as a prostitute, where she normally resumed by 6pm and closed by midnight.
She alleged that Madam Eunice prepared her for the job by giving her lectures on how to attract customers, saying she slept with an average of 10 to 12 men every day and made 85,000 CFA daily.
“After one week, Owanebi, who lives with his wife in Burkina Faso, told me he was travelling back to Nigeria. He gave me his phone because my phone was seized from me pending the time I would pay the outstanding debt for my travel expenses.
“I asked Owanebi to visit my mother, who lives in Lagos, to give him some money. Owanebi then promised to call me so that I could speak with my mother,” she added.
The victim further narrated that before she left Lagos, the two accused men made her swear to an oath that if she told anyone about it, the god of iron would kill her.
She alleged that they used palm oil, iron rods, red clothes, and a razor to take blood from her hand and mixed them with her hair to make the concoction.
Onyinyechi said the oath-taking was done before an herbalist.
The teenager however summoned the courage to tell her mother what happened who then brought security agency into the matter.