A Federal High Court (FHC) that sat in Lagos yesterday has remanded a 55-year-old woman, Mrs. Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia, who was accused of trafficking ladies for prostitution, in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till January 21.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the FHC, Lagos, made the order after the woman, who is also known as both Audu Mariam and Mama Bobby, was arraigned before the court on a six-count-charge filed by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP).
Addressing the court, the prosecutor, Ms. Becky Jibo, told the court that the defendant, a resident of 9, Olajide Street, Off Cornelius Nzebuka Street, Pleasure, Oke-Odo, Lagos State, engaged in the alleged act in 2015, December 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Jibo told the court that the defendant on the years listed above trafficked some ladies from Lagos to Malaga, Spain, for the purpose of prostitution.
Two of the ladies she allegedly trafficked for prostitution were Ms. Sandra Okizene Sanni, a.k.a Tracy and Sarah; Kem Olomo, a.k.a. Osato and Peace.
The defendant was alleged to have committed the offence with one Oyo, said to be at large.
The offences, according to the prosecutor, are contrary to and punishable under section 18 and 27(b) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following her not guilty plea, the prosecutor, asked the court for a trial date, and urged the court to remand her in the facility of the NCoS till the determination of the matter.
The prosecutor informed the court that if granted bail, the defendant might not come for trial, as she was allegedly having two international passports, which she said made it difficult for her agency to track her.
However, the Defendant’s Lawyer, Mr. Uche Okoronkwo, told the court that a bail application has been filed and same has been served on the prosecutor.
Okoronkwo added that the offence committed by the defendant is a bailable one.
He, therefore, urged the court to grant the application.
Thereafter, Justice Aneke ordered that the defendant should be remanded in the custody of NCoS, and adjourned till January 21 for ruling on the bail application