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How we arrested masterminds of human trafficking for prostitution- NAPTIP

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday heard how the masterminds of the alleged trafficking of a 27-year-old, Udeogu Ann Ugochi, to Dubai for prostitution were arrested by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP)

A prosecution witness, Mrs Ibrahim Omolara, in the ongoing trial of three persons facing trial before Justice Babs Kuewumi, yesterday gave an account of how she disguised to track and arrest the trio.

The defendants: Precious Owoh (aka Ejiro), Blessing Gabriel (aka Precious) and Rose Gabriel were arraigned before the court by NAPTIP on four-count charge of alleged human trafficking.

In the charge, the defendants and Otubo Nicole who is at large, was alleged to have organized, facilitated and promoted foreign travel which promoted the prostitution of 27- years -old, Ugochi to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The offence is contrary to Section 18 of the Trafficking in Persons ( Prohibition ) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015 and Punishable under the same section.

Omolara, who is an investigative officer with NAPTIP said: “Sometime in 2015, Head of Operation, Mr Dele Adeeyo, briefed me to carry out undercover job, due to an intelligence report received from Headquarters on a nude video going viral on social media about a Nigerian girl (Ugochi ) trafficked to Dubai for prostitution. I was given a mobile phone number:08037891823 which belong to Precious Owoh also known as Ejiro.

“I called the phone number and introduced myself as Esther, hairdressing stylist and a single parent who has intention of traveling abroad to work, I sought Precious assistance for the traveling and she agreed to help.

“She said I will pay N250,000 in order to help me get visa to Dubai or Kuwait while I will look for job when I get to my destination or pay N500,000 for visa and job at my destination abroad . I danced to her tune and she gave me her address at Ajah, I informed my other team members and we went to the area to arrest the first defendant “.

Speaking further, Omolara said it was at their office while making statement that Precious (the first defendant ) indicted Blessing Gabriel (second defendant ) and later led them to second defendant’s house in Iba, Lagos.

“Blessing Gabriel was in the house of her sister, Rose Gabriel who is the third defendant, in their house with Precious, I introduced myself as Ugochi’s elder sister. I was welcomed to their house, we discussed what transpired in Dubai, Blessing Gabriel blamed Ugochi for failing to stick to their agreement, she played an audio message on phone for me to proof her point, after that I introduced myself formally and we arrested them.”

But under cross examination by the defendants’ lawyer, Oke Ojakovo, Omolara admitted that the third defendant was arrested due to her action in trying to stop the arrest of her sister, Blessing.

The witness, who had earlier told the court that the audio message of an agreement between Ugochi and Blessing was played to her, when asked to disclosed the content of the audio message she heard, said she didn’t listen to it.

The prosecuting NAPTIP had closed its case against the defendants while the court has fixed January 18 for the defendants to open their defence.

Peter Fowoyo

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