Four Nigerians jailed for human trafficking    

An Accra Circuit Court presided over by Mrs Christiana Cann has sentenced four Nigerians to various prison terms for playing roles in trafficking two Nigerian girls to Ghana to indulge in prostitution.

Before pronouncing her ruling on the matter, the judge warned that the courts would not take kindly to the rampant cases of human trafficking which had resulted in sexual exploitation, trauma and other problems on unassuming young girls.

The convicts are IformaOkeke, otherwise known as Mama Blessing, James Jesugbami, Precious Emmanuel and Regina Okafor.

She said it was unfortunate foreigners were involved in this inhumane practice adding that stiffer sentences would serve as a deterrent to others.

Mrs Christiana Cann asked society to assist in clamping down on this social canker which was becoming too rampant with its associated problems.

The four Nigerians pleaded guilty to the charges and prayed the court to deal with them leniently for being first time offenders.

Iforma Okeke who is the head of the Nigerian prostitutes living at Ayamfuri in the Central Region was sentenced to five years in prison in hard labour.

The Court found her guilty on three counts, of indulging in human trafficking, failure to register with the Ghana Immigration Service while living in the country, and her refusal to inform the Ghanaian authorities about the presence of the victims in the country.

Regina Okafor, a dressmaker who on the instruction of IformaOkeke, purchased drugs and gave four tablets of the drugs to Angel AbugoAjirighene, one of the victims to insert in her vagina and compelled her to swallow another tablet ostensibly to abort her pregnancy, was also sentenced to five years in prison in hard labour. 

James Jesugbami, a storekeeper at Spintex Road in Accra, who facilitated the travelling of the victims from Accra to Ayamfuri was also sentenced to three months in prison in hard labour, and fined GHC 500.00 but will serve another three months in prison in default.

Princess Emmanuel, a dressmaker and another accomplice, was also sentenced to three months in prison in hard labour, and fined GHC 500.00 or serve three more months in prison in default.

Prosecuting, Police Woman Detective Chief Inspector Agatha Asantewaa, told the court that on June 6, 2021, the Anti-Trafficking Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters, received extracts from the Kaneshie Police Division of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) that Ex-WO1 BafffourKarikari, an Inspection Officer at the Metro Mass Transit Limited, Accra, had intercepted two victims who were being trafficked from Accra to Ayamfuri in the Central Region.

She said that James Jesugbami, a Nigerian and a storekeeper and one of the convicted persons lived at the Spintex Road in Accra.

According to the prosecutor, Iforma Okeke, a prostitute and the leader of the Nigerian prostitutes, Regina Okafor, a hairdresser and Princess Emmanuel, a dressmaker, all lived at Ayamfuri.

She said investigations revealed that in August 2021, Dobiem, a Nigerian and a driver, deceived Angel AbugoAjirioghene, one of the victims that an employer in Ghana was looking for a computer literate to employ, and since the victim was interested, Dobiem facilitated her travel to Ghana.

The victim who came to Ghana together with five other girls was received by James Jesugbami with whom they stayed until he received transport fare from IformaOkeke to enable them to travel to Ayamfuri, where she operated as a prostitute.

Later, Dobiem deceived Favour Mmesoma Inyeagolum in Nigeria that Iforma Okeke operated a boutique in Ghana and needed sales girls to assist her. Based on this, the second victim was also recruited and she came to Ghana together with two other girls and they were welcomed by James Jesugbami, and later taken to Ayamfuri.

The prosecutor said on reaching Ayamfuri, IformaOkeke provided them with condoms through her subordinates, compelled them into prostitution and demanded 1.5 million Naira or GHC 22, 000.00 from each of the victims before they could gain their freedom.

When Iforma Okeke later discovered that the victims were pregnant, she instructed Regina Okafor to purchase drug and she forced Angel Abugo Ajirioghene to insert four tablets in her vagina and gave her another tablet to swallow in order to terminate the pregnancy.

On September 5, 2021, the victims managed to escape to James Jesugbami at Spintex Road in Accra and pleaded with him to facilitate their repatriation to Nigeria. Unknown to the victims, Jesugbami informed Iforma Okeke who dispatched Regina Okafor and Precious Emmanuel to bring back the two victims to Ayamfuri.

But on their way back to Ayamfuri, the victim raised alarm leading to the arrest of Regina Okafor and Precious Emmanuel.

By Raymond Kyekye

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