Prominent socialite in Benin City sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for human trafficking
A popular socialite in Benin City, Edo State, Felicia Osaigbovo, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined N24 million for human trafficking.
Osaigbovo was convicted by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
She was sentenced by Honourable Justice Geraldine Imadegbelo of the High Court, Criminal Division, Benin City.
In a statement by spokesperson of NAPTIP, Adekoye Vincent, the 62-year-old, who is a member of a human trafficking syndicate, was involved in the recruitment and trafficking of 12 Nigerian girls to Belgium for sexual exploitation.
Twelve collaborators, including three of the convict’s children, have already been convicted in Belgium.
The case against the convict commenced on July 1, 2021, with a 24-count charge that included assisting the activities of persons engaged in trafficking in persons and organising foreign travels that promote prostitution, in violation of the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act (TIPPEA), 2015.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to all counts but the prosecution presented three witnesses, including a Belgian Chief Inspector of Police and submitted 13 exhibits as evidence.
Following a thorough trial, the court found the convict guilty on all 24 counts.
Reacting to the judgement, Director General of NAPTIP, Professor Fatima Waziri-Azi, expressed her appreciation for the verdict by the judiciary.
She emphasised that it represents an appropriate and significant punishment.
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