An investigative officer of National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons, NAPTIP, Mrs Ibrahim Omolara, on Thursday told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos how three persons facing trial over alleged trafficking of a 27- years -old, Udeogu Ann Ugochi, to Dubai for prostitution, were arrested.
Omolara gave account of how she went on undercover to track and arrest the three defendants
The defendants are Precious Owoh, aka Ejiro, Blessing Gabriel, aka Precious, and Rose Gabriel were arraigned before the court by National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) on four counts charge bordering on human trafficking.
In the charge, the defendants and one Otubo Nicole who is at large were alleged to have organized, facilitated and promoted foreign travel which led to the taking of 27- years -old Ugochi to Dubai, United Arab Emirates for prostitution.
The offence allegedly committed by the defendants is contrary to Section 18 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015 and Punishable under the same section.
Ibrahim Omolara in her evidence states that: “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 introduce 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 the sum of N 250, 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 sum of 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,” she revealed
Speaking further, she said it was while making statement in NAPTIP’s office in Lagos that Precious (first defendant) indicted Blessing Gabriel (second defendant) and later led them to second defendant’s house in Iba, also in Lagos.
“Blessing Gabriel was in the house of her sister, Rose Gabriel who is the third defendant, on their house with Precious, I introduced myself as Ugochi‘s elder sister and I was welcome 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.” She said.
However, under cross examination by the defendants counsel, Oke Ojakovo, the witness admitted that the third defendant was arrested due to action in trying stop 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, she said she didn’t listen to it.
The prosecution has closed its case against the defendants and the court has fixed January 18, for the defendants to open their defence.