Two senior members of staff in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Alhaji Ahmed Idris, and two others were yesterday arraigned before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), over alleged human trafficking.
The two staff in the AGF Office were the Chief Accountant on Grade Level 14, Mr. Innocent Bola-Audu and an Assistant Executive Officer on Grade Level 13, Ms. Cecilia Nkiruka Aneke, while the others were Sunny Ochinyabo and his wife, Irene.
They were arraigned on a four-count charge of abuse of position of vulnerability for the purpose of her exploitation.
According to the charge sheet with No. CR/080/2021, they were arraigned by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) following their alleged involvement in the recruitment of a 22-year-old girl, Kehinde Mustapha living in Oturkpo area of Benue State into child surrogacy.
The offences, according to the prosecution contravened Sections 13 (2) and 27 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.
When the charges were read to them, they all pleaded not guilty and pleaded for bail.
Lawyer to the first defendant, Mr. Samuel Zibiri (SAN), raised an application for his client to be granted bail on self-recognition, saying there are no circumstances on record that can militate against granting him bail.
A similar application for bail was argued by both the lawyer representing Sunny Ochinyabo and his wife, Oghenovo Otemu and Lucky Odigie, the lawyer for Cecilia Aneke.
The applications for the bail were not opposed by the counsel to the federal government (NAPTIP), Dr. Hassan Liman (SAN).
Delivering his ruling, Justice Charles Agbaza granted each of the four accused persons N10 million bail, with a surety who must be a civil servant of not less than Grade Level 10 and must have evidence of residency in Abuja.
The judge subsequently adjourned to September 22 for trial.
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