The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has warned Nigerians against illegal adoption of children. The Director-General of the body, Ms Julie Okah-Donle issued the caution in a statement in Abuja, on Friday while reacting to the recent conviction of the 5 men who illegally adopted a 4-year-old boy in Makurdi.
Okah-Donle who condemned the act, likewise advised anyone who intends to adopt a child to go through the legal process in order to avoid deserving punishment and/or cause another parent emotional and mental anguish; expressing concern about the pains that parents of abducted children go through.
According to her, under Sections 13 (2), 21, and 27 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration (TIPPEA) Act, 2015; it is criminal to abduct, transport, receive or harbour a victim of human trafficking.
Okah-Donle quoted the law:
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“The law also prohibits the purchase, sale, hiring or taking possession of any person with intent, knowing it to be likely or having reasons to know that such a person will be subjected to exploitation as well as any conspiracy to commit any offence under the Act.”
The names of the convicted men in Makurdi, as listed in the statement are: Adejo Ogiri, Afonne Nwokocha, Ndukwe Henry and Obuito Onyema.
Arrested by officers of the Department of State Services for the abduction and attempted sale of victim, they were handed over to NAPTIP and sentenced by the Federal High Court, Makurdi; for abducting the 4-year-old boy.
The statement submitted the following facts:
That the 1st accused, Ogiri abducted his neighbour’s child from Oturkpo and took him to Umuahia, Abia state; where he handed him over to the 2nd accused, Nwokocha.
That Nwokocha took the child to the 3rd accused, Ndukwe who had a client, Augustina -still at large- whom they intended to sell the child to.
That while waiting for the client to pick up the child, they kept him with the fourth accused person, who is a relative of the client.
That Edward was arrested by the Directorate of State Security Service (DSS) as he went to the bank to withdraw the money earlier sent by the client.
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That the DSS thereafter, rescued the child, arrested and handed the suspects over to NAPTIP for further investigation and prosecution.
That in the course of trial which lasted between September 2016 and May 2018, the presiding Judge found the acts committed by the accused persons punishable, and based on the evidences tendered by the prosecutor, they were found guilty and subsequently sentenced accordingly.
That under Sections 13 (2)(a), 21 and 27 of TIPPEA ACT, 2015, Ogiri was sentenced to 2 years and 5 years imprisonment, respectively, on each count.
And that the 4th and 5th accused persons were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment each, while the 2nd and 3rd accused persons, who jumped bail in the course of the trial, will be sentenced when caught.
Okah-Donle lauded the collaborative efforts of the DSS in the arrests and course of the trial.
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She identified partnership as one of the five-pronged approaches employed by NAPTIP in combating human trafficking, adding that fight against human trafficking will be more impactful when law enforcement agencies work together.
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