A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, has sentenced a 47-year-old security guard, Obinna Andrew, to 16 years’ imprisonment with an option of N3m fine for sexually exploiting two minors.
While delivering the judgment on Tuesday, Justice Simon Amobeda, said the sentence was to serve as a deterrent to others, who were contemplating committing a similar crime at a time that the rate of sexual exploitation of minors was increasing in the society.
The judge added that since the convict was a first time offender and pleaded guilty without wasting the time of the court, he gave him some considerations.
“This sentence will run from the day of the convict’s arrest,” the judge stated.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Nduka Nwanwenne, who spoke with journalists after the judgment, said the convict was first arraigned on February 26, 2020, and was sentenced for violating the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.
Nwanwenne, who is also the Uyo Zonal Commander of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, said the convict was arraigned on four counts in contravention of sections 15 and 16, subsection 1 of the Trafficking in Persons Act, which dealt with harbouring and sexually assaulting minors.
According to him, Andrew took the victims, who were stranded, into an apartment in the High Court Judges’ Quarters in Calabar.
Nwanwenne stated, “There in the apartment, Andrew sexually exploited the girls after inducing them with Indian hemp and he even invited his friends to also do the same thing.
“One of the girls, however, pretended to want to ease herself, went out and jumped over the fence into the compound of a judge, while just tying a towel and she was apprehended. That was what led to the arrest and subsequent prosecution of the convict.”
He said the Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, had zero tolerance for issues of exploitation and trafficking, and it was because of that that the convict was prosecuted within a short time.