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Court orders extradition of Nigerian fugitive, Franca Asemota, to the UK

Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday ordered the extradition of one Franca Asemota, a Nigerian fugitive whose extradition was sought by the United Kingdom for offences bordering on trafficking of minors.

Ms. Asemota, 36, is wanted by the UK government for trafficking of minors to Europe through London.

She was accused of allegedly organising a network that trafficked young women, mostly teenagers, from remote Nigerian villages into Europe using Heathrow airport as transit hub.

The girls were promised education or jobs such as hairdressing in countries, including France and Spain, but were forced into prostitution.

Ms. Asemota was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on March 24, 2015, in Benin, Edo State on suspicion of money laundering offences.

On arrest, checks on her profile revealed that she had been on the wanted list of the National Crime Agency of the UK.

When the case came up on Monday, January 11, Ms. Asemota's counsel, Ugochukwu Ezekiel, prayed the court to grant his client bail to enable her seek medical attention as she had spent almost a year in custody.

But Akuta Pius Ukeyima, from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, however opposed the application, saying it would be better to ask for a short date for ruling on the substantive matter.

Consequently, Justice Kafarati adjourned to Wednesday (today) for ruling.

At the resumerd sitting, Justice Kafarati granted the extradition request and ordered that the accused be extradited to the United Kingdom to face trial for the charges filed against her.

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