The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says no fewer than six persons have been convicted in Enugu State for various child trafficking offences in the last five months.
The Enugu Zonal Commander of the agency, Mrs Comfort Agboko, said this in a statement on Monday in Enugu.
Agboko said that four of such convictions were in January while two were on May 8.
She described the latest judgment by the Federal High Court in Enugu as a watershed in the fight against human trafficking in the state.
She said that the court had after evaluating all evidences against the defendants, Mrs Glory Anyagu and Mrs Francais Udechukwu, sentenced them to five years imprisonment each with options of fine.
“The two convicts were charged for the sale of an infant and being an accessory to the sale of an infant which is contrary to Section 21 & 13(C) of the TIP Act 2015.
“The court presided over by Justice N. Buba on May 8 sentenced them to five years imprisonment each or to pay a fine of varied sums,” she said.
Agboko said that the first defendant, Anyagu had the option to pay N2 million while Udechukwu was given an option to pay N1 million.
She however, said that the convicts would not begin their jail term if they failed to pay the fines until after the end of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
She said that the convicts were allowed to go home as the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) was no longer accepting fresh inmates from the courts due to the pandemic.
“The court had held that though the law under which the defendants were charged does not require an option of fine but the current health pandemic occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic had made it necessary.
“The court ordered that they are to serve their prison sentences or pay the fines after the pandemic and that the fine is to be held in bond and paid in installments,” she said.
Agboko said that the court also ordered that the N862,000 proceed of the crime tendered as exhibit before the court be paid into the Victims Of Trafficking Trust Fund.
She said that the infant, who was the subject of the trafficking had since been reunited with the family.