Three men in Benue State have been sentenced to jail by the Federal High Court in Makurdi for selling a neighbour’s four-year-old son in the Otukpo area of the state.
The three convicts identified as Adejo Ogiri, Ndukwe Henry and Obuito Onyema, were arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services in connection with the abduction.
They were thereafter handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, which charged them to court.
Our correspondent learnt that the first convict, Ogiri, abducted the four-year-old boy from Otukpo and took him to Umuahia, Abia State, where he handed him over to a runaway suspect, Michael Uzochukwu. He reportedly took the child to another man, Augustine, whom they planned to sell the child to.
It was learnt that the three suspects were arrested by the DSS as they were going to the bank to withdraw the money earlier sent by the client. The DSS thereafter, rescued the child, arrested and handed the suspects over to NAPTIP for further investigations and prosecution.
A statement by NAPTIP’s Head of Press and Public Relations, Mrs Stella Nezan, stated that the actions of the suspects contravened Sections 13(2), 21, and 27 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015.
The statement read in part, “In the course of the trial, the presiding judge found the acts committed by the accused persons despicable. And based on the evidences tendered by the prosecution, the judge found them guilty and subsequently sentenced them accordingly.
“Convicted under Sections 13(2) (a), 21 and 27 of TIPPEA ACT, 2015, Ogiri was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment; Henry and Onyema were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment each, while the other accused persons got bail and have not showed up since then.”
The NAPTIP Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli, said the fight against human trafficking had been more impactful since the law enforcement agencies started working together.