LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- A 56-year-old woman identified as Nma Lilian Achumba has been remanded in Nigeria Correctional Centre, Afara, Umuahia by a Magistrate Court sitting in Umuahia, for allegedly recruiting and abducting 21 young girls for sexual exploitation and child trafficking.
The accused was charged with recruiting and abducting young girls and exploiting them sexually in Umunkpeyi Nvosi, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area (LGA) and Olokoro, Umuahia South LGA of the State in June, 2023.
But the 56-year-old woman, who used to run the Nma Charity and Rehabilitation Centre in Abia State, pleaded not guilty.
In a short ruling after her plea, the trial Magistrate, Ngozi Lekwa, said that the offence is punishable under Section 13, Sub section 1, 2 and C of Trafficking in Persons Enforcement and Administration Act 2015 and Section 86 of the Criminal Code, as applicable in the State.
She, however, said that the Magistrate Court lacked the jurisdiction to handle the matter.
The court ordered that the case file be transferred to the office of the Department of Public Prosecution Abia State Ministry of Justice, Umuahia.
Magistrate Lekwa further adjourned the matter till 7 November, for report of compliance, while the accused, Nma Achumba, was remanded in the Correctional Centre, Umuahia.
Reacting to the development, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ikechuckwu Uwanna said the State is determined to prosecute those involved in dirty and illegal businesses capable of bringing disrepute to the image of the State.
The Attorney General, who was represented by the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, in the ministry, Mr. Vincent Chukwu, noted that there had been reports of pockets of such issues in some parts of Osisioma, Isiala Ngwa North and Umuahia North LGA of Abia.
Uwanna assured that the law must take its course and advised the Abia public against engaging in illicit businesses.