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7 Mar 2019

Drama as former Super Eagles star is dragged over alleged child abandonment

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has directed Miss Esther Emiola, who petitioned the agency over alleged child abandonment by ex-international footballer, Sani Kaita, to seek legal action.

The directive which is dated Feb. 20, was written to Forthright Chambers, Area 11, Garki, Abuja, which petitioned the agency on behalf of Emiola, its client.

The directive, which was signed by one Mr Arinze Mbanefo on behalf of the Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs Julie Ukaa, was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja by Forthright Chambers.

The directive reads in part: “I am directed to refer to your letter on the above subject matter, dated February 14, 2019, and to inform you that the agency has considered all the issues raised.

“It is our view that the agency lacks the mandate to treat the case, owing to the fact that the relationship between Mr Sani Kaita and your client, Esther Emiola is not that of a spouse or married couple (not legally married) as envisaged under Section 16 of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, 2015.

“I am further directed to advise that you kindly seek redress for allegation against Mr Sani Kaita by exploring other legal means and or civil action.”

NAN recalls that Emiola had on February 14 filed the petition against Kaita by her lawyer, Mr Frank Tietie, alleging that the respondent got her pregnant in 2015, and thereafter, promised to marry her.

Emiola had also alleged in her petition that throughout the period of the pregnancy and after the birth, Kaita never asked after the welfare of the woman nor the welfare of the baby, and urged NAPTIP to invoked Section 16 of the VAPP Act on the issue.

Meanwhile, Forthright chambers has also threatened to sue NAPTIP over misleading interpretation of Section 16 of VAPP Act 2015 in another letter sent back to the agency and available to NAN.

The response letter reads in part: “Following the receipt of the correspondence with reference No. NAPTIP/INV/OPS/1679/ and dated February 20, 2019 where NAPTIP declined to investigate and possibly prosecute the complaint against Kaita, on the ground that the relationship between both is not that of a spouse or married couple as envisaged in Section 16 of VAPP Act 2015.

“We wish to submit respectfully that the above position is not only misleading but contrary to public policy with regards to the need for Nigerian children to enjoy their right to parental responsibility under the Child Rights Act 2003.

“For avoidance of doubt, Section 46 of the VAPP Act 2015 defines abandonment of women, children and other person’s as: deliberately leaving women, children and other persons, under the perpetrator’s care destitute and without any means of subsistence,” the response letter said.

It added that the issue of the case of abandonment of a spouse or children, whether or not the relationship between the parties is that of a married relationship is immaterial.

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