By Felicia Imohimi
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has warned Nigerians against illegal adoption of children.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donle, issued the caution in a statement on Friday in Abuja while reacting to the recent conviction of five men in Makurdi for adoption of a four-year-old boy.
Okah-Donle advised anyone intending to adopt a child to go through the legal processes in order to avoid falling foul of the law or causing another parent severe emotional and mental pain.
The NAPTIP boss who condemned the abduction of children expressed concern on the pains that parents whose children were abducted could be going through.
According to her, under Sections 13 (2), 21, and 27 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration (TIPPEA) Act, 2015, it is a crime to abduct, transport, receive or harbour a victim of human trafficking.
“The law also prohibits the purchase, sale, hiring or taking possession of any person with intent, knowing it to be likely or having reasons to know that such a person will be subjected to exploitation as well as any conspiracy to commit any offence under the Act,” she quoted the law
On the convicted men in Makurdi, the statement listed the accused persons as Adejo Ogiri, Afonne Nwokocha, Ndukwe Henry and Obuito Onyema.
According to the statement, they were sentenced by the Federal High Court in Makurdi for abducting a four-year-old boy.
They were arrested by officers of the Department of State Services for the abduction and attempted sale of the victim and handed over to the NAPTIP.
The statement noted that the first accused (Ogiri) abducted his neighbour’s child from Otukpo and took him to Umuahia, Abia state, where he handed him over to the second accused, Uzochukwu.
It further noted that Uzochukwu took the child to the third convict (Edward), who had a client, Augustina, still at large, whom they intended to sell the child to.
“While waiting for the client to pick up the child, they kept him with the fourth accused person, who is a relative of the client.
“Edward was arrested by the Directorate of State Security Service (DSS) as he went to the bank to withdraw the money earlier sent by the client.
“The DSS thereafter, rescued the child, arrested and handed the suspects over to NAPTIP for further investigation and prosecution.
“In the course of trial which lasted between September 2016 and May 2018, the presiding Judge found the acts committed by the accused persons despicable.
“Based on the evidences tendered by the prosecution, found them guilty and subsequently sentenced them accordingly.
“Convicted under Sections 13 (2)(a), 21 and 27 of TIPPEA ACT, 2015, Ogiri was sentenced to two years and five years’ imprisonment, respectively, on each count.
“The fourth and fifth accused persons were sentenced to five years imprisonment, each, while the second and third accused persons, who jumped bail in the course of the trial, will be sentenced when caught,” the statement noted.
Okah-Donle lauded the collaborative efforts of the DSS in the arrests and course of the trial.
She identified partnership as one of the five-pronged approaches employed by NAPTIP in combating human trafficking, adding that fight against human trafficking will be more impactful when law enforcement agencies work together. (NAN)