Breaking: Court clears ASCSN President Bola-Audu, 3 others of human trafficking charges

A High Court of Justice of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting in Maitama District of Abuja, has cleared the the President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Mr Innocent Bola-Audu and three others, of criminal allegation of human trafficking.

Justice Charles Agbaza of the FCT High Court 6, on Tuesday, discharged and acquitted Bola-Audu and three others on the ground that the prosecution failed to link the defendants with the offence.

National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, (NAPTIP) had dragged four civil servants before the Court over their alleged involvement in human trafficking in 2021.

The workers were the Chief Accountant on Grade Level 14, Innocent Bola-Audu,  and an Assistant Executive Officer on Grade Level 13, Cecilia Aneke.

The defendants pleaded not guilty after they were arraigned on Julym7, 2021 and were subsequently granted bail.

The defendants through their counsels filed a motion for no-case submission. After parties argued their briefs of argument, the court adjourned the case for ruling.

Justice Agbaza, in his ruling on Tuesday after listening to submissions of counsels said the prosecution clearly failed to link the defendants with the offence.

The Judge held that, “The prosecution has not clearly been able to link the defendants with the charge brought against them. I find it difficult to come to terms with the prosecution on the charges and in his argument against the defendants.

“There is no evidence before this Court linking the defendants with the offence. The prosecution failed to establish a case of human trafficking against the defendants.

“The defendants are hereby discharged and acquitted.”

Speaking with journalists after his discharge by the Court,  Bola-Audu said the case preferred against him and three others by NAPTIP was politically motivated to malign him but he was happy that he been vindicated.

He thanked members of ASCSN who stood by him while his travails lasted, promising not to let them down as he will continue to provide purposeful leadership for the Association.

UNI Agric Markurdi
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