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Human Trafficking: Court Sentences 55-Year-Old Woman To 7 Years Imprisonment

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A 55-year old woman, Patricia Igbinovia who is one of syndicates that carry out the illicit business in human trafficking and recruiting young girls for prostitution abroad was on Thursday convicted and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment with hard labour in addition to payment of N1 million for her unlawful, illicit business.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos convicted Patricia Igbinovia after she pleaded guilty to the 6-counts charge preferred against her by the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia was arraigned before the court on 6-counts charge bordering on trafficking in young girls, promoting girls prostitution and sexual exploitation.

According to the charge preferred against the convict which was signed by NAPTIP legal officer and prosecutor, Bekky M. Jibo, the convict was said to have belong to a cartel that organises foreign travel which sponsors and promotes prostitution and sexual exploitation for young girls in foreign countries.

In the instant case, the convict recruited girls from Lagos on Nigeria to Málaga in Spain for prostitution.

After listening to the charge preferred against her, Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia pleaded guilty to all the counts.

In view of her guilty plea, the prosecutor Bekky Jibo applied for a review of the facts of the charge which was granted by the court.

A prosecution witness, Mabel Bajulaiye who was a member of the team that investigated the intelligence about a Nigerian organised crime group was called to give evidence.

The witness told the court how sometime in 2016, due to the synergy between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Spanish Government in combating crime in human trafficking and prostitution, the Federal Government through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation received an intelligence about a Nigerian organised crime group that traffic young girls from Nigeria to Madrid and Málaga in Spain where the girls are made to work as prostitutes for sexual exploitation.

She said that the Spanish authority uncovered this nefarious group and and contacted the Nigerian authority through the office of the AGF. The case was referred to NAPTIP for investigation.

While in NAPTIP, the case was handed over to a Joint Task Force, a team within the agency that investigates foreign cases.

The witness stated how a team of investigators from Spain came to Nigeria and revealed the arrest of some members of the group including Cynthia Ojiakor and Kate James.

“Shortly after, a team of investigators from Nigeria also traveled to Spain to gather more intelligence on the case. The team was told that they are going to send more intelligence to Nigeria to help in the investigation”

They sent some documents to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Justice forwarded the documents to NAPTIP.

They also sent the authority that allows the Spanish investigators to assert the wires of the telephone calls made.

It was also discovered that the convict at different times, changed her real name from Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia to Mama Bobby and Mariam Audu Olayemi.

After listening to the evidence of the witness which was not controverted and the exhibits tendered and admitted, the trial judge convicted the defendant as charged.

In his allocutus (plea for mercy) the defence counsel, Mr Uche Okoronkwo while pleading to court for leniency on behalf of the convict, urged the court to tamper justice with mercy, adding that the convict was remorseful and pleaded guilty without wasting the precious time of the court.

In sentencing the convict on Wednesday Justice Aneke said that he has carefully listened to the allocutus and plea for leniency, more so as the convict did not waste the precious time of the court.

“However, the court is not unmindful of the harm and trauma the activities of the convict has done to the country before the international community. Her illicit activities has affected the country’s image internationally”.

“The convict Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia a.k a. Mama Bobby, Audu Mariam Olayemi is hereby sentenced to Seven (7) years imprisonment and a fine of N1 million.”

“The sentence is effective from July 3, 2023”. the court held.

Some of the counts as contained in the charge read:
“That you Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia a.k.a Mama Bobby, a.k.a.Audu Mariam Olayemi
‘F’ 55 years of 9 Olajide Street B, Pleasure, off Cornelius Nzebuka Street, Oko-odo Lagos, on or about the year 2015 to year 2017 within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court , organised foreign travel which promotes prostitution for girls between ages of 17 and 20 to go from Lagos – Nigeria to Málaga Spain and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement And Administration Act 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act”

“That you Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia a.k.a. Mama Bobby, a.k.a. Audu Mariam Olayemi ‘F’, 55 years of 9 Olajide Street B, Pleasure, off Cornelius Nzebuka Street Oko-odo Lagos, on or about December 2016, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, organised foreign travel which promotes prostitution for girls to go from Lagos Nigeria to Málaga, Spain and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement And Administration Act 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.”

Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia a.k.a. Mama Bobby, a.k.a. Audu Mariam Olayemi ‘F’ 55 years of same address, place, and period within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court was said to have organised foreign travel which promotes prostitution for girls to go from Lagos Nigeria to Málaga in Spain for sexual exploitation.

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