7 Nigerians Caged For Human Trafficking

SEVEN NIGERIAN nationals who allegedly trafficked 20 of their fellow Nigerians into Ghana have been remanded into custody by an Accra Circuit Court.

The seven, together with one other suspect who is on the run, were arrested and charged by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and were hauled before the court yesterday on charges of human trafficking contrary to Section 2 of the Human Trafficking Act 2005, (Act 694) and other charges.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to 24 counts comprising of human trafficking, assault and participating in organised crimes. They face not less than five years’ imprisonment if found guilty by the court per Section 2(2) of the Human Trafficking Act.

They are Osas Vincent, Kennedy Anthony, Godson Iyan Inye, Junior Ayala Ariyo, Desmond Johnson, Andrew Gabriel and Ebedebi Ayaye Friday. Williams Ogbemudia Edumudia aka Chairman, who according to court documents is the ringleader, is on the run.

Theophilus Donkor, counsel for the accused persons, pleaded with the court to grant them bail pending the trial.

He said the accused may be Nigerians but the 1992 Constitution does not discriminate against nationality, hence the entitlement of the accused persons to bail.

Mr. Donkor said the accused persons have a fixed place of abode that resulted in their arrest, and would be available to stand trial if granted bail.

The application was opposed by the prosecution led by Abu Issah, the Head of Legal and Prosecutions at EOCO, who cited the national magnitude of the matter and stated that the discretion to grant bail should be handled cautiously.

Her Honour Rosemary Baah Tosu, after listening to both sides, ruled that the accused persons did not demonstrate that they have a fixed place of abode.

She, therefore, remanded the accused persons into the custody of EOCO to reappear in two weeks and ordered the prosecution to file their disclosures within 21 days.

The brief facts narrated to the court indicated on August 29, 2022, EOCO received an email from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Nigeria, requesting the intervention of EOCO in the rescue of some Nigerian victims of trafficking who were being exploited for cyber-crime purposes, as well as possible arrest and prosecution.

This, he said, led them to conduct investigation which revealed that the eight accused were part of an organised criminal group, with all the members being Nigerians.

The facts said investigations further revealed that this organised criminal group is partly based in Nigeria and also in Ghana, and Williams Ogbemudia is the leader of this group, who recruited the 20 victims from various states in Nigeria and transported them to Ghana by exploiting their vulnerability of being unemployed with a promise to offer them jobs.

The facts added that the accused persons detained the 20 victims without their consent at Manhean in Accra, and trained them to engage in internet fraud.

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