A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a housewife, Gift Nonye Ukatu to 13 years imprisonment for human trafficking.
The sentence was handed down by Justice Kudy Jose. Ukatu was arrested in Lagos in 2015 following a tip-off from concerned citizens, who knew her activities.
Ukatu who earlier jumped bail, was re-arrested and charged on 6 count of harbouring 2 girls that are under 12 years old and engaged them in forced labour, domestic works and enslavement.
The defendant was arraigned early 2016, where she pleaded not guilty to all the counts. Delivering judgment last week, Justice Jose convicted Ukatu on all the charges and sentenced her to 13 years imprisonment. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Lagos, in October convicted and sentenced a 56 years old woman, Modinat Owolabi to 10 years imprisonment for cocaine trafficking.
Justice Mohammed Aikawa sentenced the convict after she pleaded guilty to a one-count charge of drug trafficking preferred against her by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The convict had earlier pleaded guilty when she was first arraigned before the court, and had maintained her plea when the matter came up on Tuesday.
After reviewing the facts of the case, the prosecutor, Mr Abu Ibrahim, tendered the convict’s harmonised ECOWAS passport, an E-ticket and a boarding pass obtained from her as evidence.
He also tendered three written statements of the convict, two request of scientific aid forms, a drug analysis report, and a sealed brown envelope which were all admitted as exhibits.
After tendering the evidences, the prosecutor urged the court to convict and sentence her accordingly.
Consequently, Justice Aikawa, pronounced the convict guilty as charged. In her allocutus, (plea for mercy), defence counsel Mrs M. Ogunleye, urged the court to temper justice with mercy in its sentence, as the convict was a first time offender.
In his judgment, however, Aikawa held that the court was bound by the provisions of the law and must be guided by it.
He, accordingly, sentenced the convict to 10 years imprisonment beginning from the date of her arrest.