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Four women jailed for child trafficking

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Enugu Multi-door Courthouse settles 174 cases in one year
Justice Rosemary Oghoghorie of the Federal High Court, Enugu, yesterday sentenced four women to six months and N10,000 fine each.

Chinasa Ugwu (28), Mary Effiong (19), Grace Bright (25) and Happiness Asuquo (20) were found guilty of trafficking in persons, by employing the services of three infants for begging and also hired them out for the same purpose.

The offence and arraignment were said to be in line with Section 23 of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Act and contrary to Section 23(1)(b) of the TIP Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act 2015.When the charges were read, the suspects pleaded guilty of the offence as charged and the prosecution counsel, Nnamdi Ezemagu, applied for the review of the facts of the case.

Justice Oghoghorie had, after reviewing their case, sentenced them to six months and N10,000 fine each.Enugu Zonal Commander, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mrs. Comfort Agboko, while speaking to reporters, expressed satisfaction with the conviction.

She said that the Enugu Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), which had reportedly arrested Ugwu in July 2019 with three infants, transferred the matter to NAPTIP.

In another development, with the successful settlement of 174 cases that had lingered in various courts in the state in less than one year, the Enugu State Multi-Door Courthouse (ESMDC) yesterday described its establishment as a landmark development in the advancement of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the country.

State Director of the Multi-Door Courthouse, Mrs. Caroline Etuk, told The Guardian that the establishment had impacted the justice system by reducing timeframe and caseloads of the courts in the state, adding that it had provided satisfactory and cost-effective justice to litigants.

Given a statistics of what the agency had achieved since its establishment some months ago, Etuk said that of the 321 cases referred from various courts and those brought by litigants last year, 212 were mediated upon, with 174 successfully concluded and 49 unsuccessful.

She added: “A total of 38 courts, 48 mediators, more than 1,272 parties and 350 counsel participated in the programme. Other success indicators of the programme included the speedy recovery of monetary and other claims in the resolved maters, fostering societal harmony through the amicable resolution of disputes and overall savings to disputants on costs.”

Remarking that strides had been attained in ADR awareness through the programme, she added that creative solutions had been applied to disputes that would have been in the court system for years.

Expressing appreciation to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the support so far, Mrs. Etuk said the courthouse was poised to become the pace-setter for the development of mediation as a visible tool for the resolution of complex disputes of all kinds, adding that the state would become the destination for the timely and effective resolution of disputes in the eastern region.

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