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Court Remand Arrows of God Orphanage Founder, Deborah Ogo for Alleged Child Trafficking

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Deborah Ogo, the 83-year-old founder of Arrows of God Orphanage Home, has been remanded in prison, as reported by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Justice Hauwa Yilwa of the Federal High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, ordered Ogo to be held at the Onitsha Correctional Facility until she meets her bail conditions, set at N1.3 million with two sureties in like sum.

Ogo’s arrest follows an extensive undercover investigation led by ‘Fisayo Soyombo, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ).

The investigation, which took 19 months to complete, uncovered that the orphanage, one of Nigeria’s most prominent, was involved in illegal baby sales.

Soyombo personally purchased a baby from Ogo for N2 million in July 2023. The investigative report was published in August 2023, prompting action from NAPTIP.

In response to the revelations, NAPTIP arrested Ogo on October 3, 2023, at the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare in Awka, Anambra State, and sealed the orphanage’s offices in Lagos and Anambra State.

Ogo, an ordained minister and former Nigerian Army Lt. Colonel, was arraigned at the Federal High Court in Awka Judicial Division, presided over by Hon. Justice Hauwa Yilwa.

The charge against her stated: “That you, Ogo Chinwe Clara Deborah (F), 83 years old, of 66 Awka Road, Onitsha, Anambra State, and others (at large), on July 6th, 2023, at the above address within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, did buy and sell a baby, female, five months old, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 21 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.”

Ogo pleaded not guilty to the charges. Following her plea, the judge granted her bail with a bond of N1.3 million and two sureties in like sum.

She was remanded in the Onitsha Correctional Facility pending the fulfilment of her bail conditions. The trial is scheduled to begin on July 10, 2024.

In a  complete  statement, NAPTIP emphasised their commitment to prosecuting cases of human trafficking and protecting vulnerable individuals.

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