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Alleged child trafficking: Court orders NAPTIP to release detained father, daughter and niece

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An Abuja High Court has ordered the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and its director general, Barrister Julie Okah-Donli to release on bail, with immediate effect, from its detention facility, Mr. Akannni Adeyeye; his daughter, Miss Tola Joy Adeyeye; and, his niece, Miss Kajogbola Adeyeye.

The Adeyeyes who had gone to the United States of America’s Embassy in Abuja for visa interviews were, on April 11, 2018, handed over to NAPTIP on the suspicion that Mr. Adeyeye was into the business of trafficking in persons.

While Mr. Adeyeye, who is the 1st applicant in a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2117/18 in which he is suing for himself, Tola Joy Adeyeye (2nd applicant) and Kajogbola Adeyeye (3rd applicant), was released on bail four days after and subsequently detained, the second and third defendants have been in NAPTIP’s detention facility since April 11, this year and therefore unable to resume studies in their respective schools.

Justice S.E. Aladetoyinbo made the orders on Monday, July 2, 2018, consequent upon reading the processes filed before the court, including the affidavit of Mr. Adeyeye (1stapplicant) and exhibits attached; and, upon hearing counsel to the applicants, Adamson Adeboro, Esq.

In making the orders for their immediate release on bail, Justice Aladetoyinbo ordered NAPTIP (1st respondent) and its director general (2ndrespondent) to appear in court on Thursday, July 5, 2018 to show cause why the applicants should not be released from their custody.

He specifically said that “the 2nd applicant, a student of Frontline Model School, Ado-Ekiti, including the 3rdapplicant who is a student of Little Sparrow Montessori School, Ado-Ekiti, were alleged to be in the custody of the respondents since 11th day of April, 2018.”

The judge ordered that “the 2nd and 3rd applicants who are 15 and 13 years old respectively are to be released on bail by the respondents with immediate effect so as to enable them continue their education.

“The 1st applicant is to be released along with the two children to enable him take responsibility for their maintenance.”  

Counsel to the applicants, Adeboro, had, in a motion on notice, prayed the court for a declaration that the arrest and detention of the 1st applicant on April 11, 2018 till 16th April 2018 at the respondents’ Abuja office even after satisfying his bail condition on the 12th of April, 2018, was illegal, null and void and a gross violation of his fundamental rights to dignity of a person, personal liberty, freedom of movement as protected under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He had also prayed the court for a declaration that the arrest and detention, further detention and continuous detention of the 2nd and 3rdapplicants from April 11, 2018 till the time of filing the suit was illegal, null and void and a gross violation of their rights to dignity of a person, personal liberty and freedom of movement under the constitution.

Applicants’ counsel had further prayed for a declaration that the threat by the respondents of forcing and compelling the 1st applicant to conduct a DNA test to prove the paternity of the 2ndapplicant when the said paternity was not in issue or dispute amounted to subjecting the applicants and their family to ridicule and also ultra vires the powers of the respondents and therefore null and void and unconstitutional.

He thus prayed for an order of court restraining the respondents from forcing or compelling the 1st applicant from conducting DNA on the paternity of the 2nd applicant same being illegal, null and void, particularly when the paternity of the 2nd applicant was not in issue or dispute.

In addition to a written apology to the respondents to be published in two national newspapers for the unwarranted infringement of the fundamental rights of the applicants, the applicants’ counsel prayed for  order of the court awarding the sum of N50 million only against the respondents jointly and severally in favour of the applicants being exemplary damages/compensation for the unlawful detention, harassment, inhuman and degrading treatment and untold hardship caused to the applicants by the respondents.  

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