A well-known socialite in Benin City, Edo State, Felicia Osaigbovo, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined N24 million for her involvement in human trafficking.
Osaigbovo was found guilty by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
Honourable Justice Geraldine Imadegbelo of the High Court, Criminal Division, Benin City, handed down the sentence.
According to NAPTIP spokesperson Adekoye Vincent, the 62-year-old socialite was part of a human trafficking syndicate that recruited and trafficked 12 Nigerian girls to Belgium for sexual exploitation.
In Belgium, twelve accomplices, including three of Osaigbovo’s children, have already been convicted.
The case against Osaigbovo began on July 1, 2021, with a 24-count charge that included aiding the activities of individuals involved in trafficking in persons and organizing foreign trips that facilitated prostitution, in violation of the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act (TIPPEA), 2015.
Although the defendant pleaded not guilty to all charges, the prosecution presented three witnesses, including a Belgian Chief Inspector of Police, and submitted 13 exhibits as evidence.
After a thorough trial, the court found Osaigbovo guilty on all 24 counts.
Director General of NAPTIP, Professor Fatima Waziri-Azi, expressed her appreciation for the judiciary’s verdict, noting that it is a fitting and significant punishment.