By Monday Osayande, Asaba
A 38-year-old man, Samuel Ufor Papa, has been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by a Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State, without an option of fine for human trafficking.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Toyin Adegoke, said on Tuesday that the convict was sentenced in count one and two respectively but discharged in count three while the sentences are to run concurrently; starting from the day of the arrest.
The Court held that the convict, Samuel Ufor Papa lured the victim, Miss Cynthia Udeh to travel to Mali from Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State through one Florence.
The convict was charged on a three count amended charge of facilitating the trafficking of 20-year-old Miss Cynthia Ude to Mali, a West African country.
The convict who was on bail from the Benin zonal office of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for a previous offence broke down in tears when the Judge pronounced him guilty of the offenses.
Adegoke said that the prosecution proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt on count 1 which borders on facilitating the travelling out from Nigeria of the female victim.
The court also found the convict guilty of count 2 bordering on facilitating foreign travel which promotes prostitition.
Justice Adegoke further held that “From the totality of evidence adduced by the prosecution, I hold the view that the convict is guilty of counts 1 and 2 and is hereby sentenced to five years for count 1 and seven years imprisonment for count 2. Both sentences are to run concurrently.”
Defence counsel, O.S Odenigbo, legal aid council pleaded for leniency,adding that the convict was a first offender.
He said the convict had not seen his pregnant wife who had given birth since 2017 when he was incarcerated, and that the convict’s family are exposed to hardship and difficulty.
The convict, Samuel was arrested at Seme border on June 11, 2017 while on transit to Mali.
The court held that from the overwhelming evidence from the victim’s Counsel, she was deceived with one million Cephas annual salary in Mali.
The Judge said that having held from both sides, that the act of traficking and sexual exploitation against the convict was “established”.
The NAPTIP Counsel, Oburo Victoria described the Judgement as sound, saying it will serve as a deterrent to others who may want indulge in such evil act.
Oburo commended NAPTIP for being in the vanguard in fighting human trafficking and sexual exploitations in Nigeria.