court

A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, on Thursday sentenced a 31-year-old man, Ifeanyi Okorogu, to two years’ imprisonment with no option of fine for attempting to sell a three-day-old baby girl.

Okorogu, who was arrested in December 2017, was brought to the court by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons on two counts.

The charge sheet, with number FHC/CA/68C/2017, was signed by one Unimwen Aigbeze of NAPTIP, on behalf of the Minister of Justice.

NAPTIP accused Okorogu of “harbouring a 16-year-old girl, Omah Eko, in October 2017, who was then pregnant, by means of abuse of position of vulnerability giving to her benefits to achieve her consent for the purpose of exploitation, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 13(2) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.”

The agency also accused Okorogu of attempting to sell Eko’s three-day-old baby to one Angela Nwaelechi on December 1, 2017, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 29 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.

Okorogu’s lawyer, Cosmos Obinna, before the judgement, urged the court to temper justice with mercy.

He said the accused was a first time offender with no criminal record, adding that he had an unemployed wife, two children and an aged mother who would suffer if he was incarcerated.

He said Okorogu had learnt from his mistakes and would not commit such crime again.

Delivering the judgement, Justice Inyang Ekwo sentenced Okorogu to two years on the first count and one year on the second with no option of fine.

He said both sentences should run concurrently starting from the day of his arrest.

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