A London-based nurse has been found guilty of trafficking five Nigerian women to Germany to work as prostitutes – after forcing them to undergo humiliating voodoo rituals.
Josephine Iyamu made her victims swear oaths to hand over money during “juju” ceremonies which saw them ordered to eat chicken hearts, drink blood containing worms and endure powder being rubbed into cuts.
Jurors were told the 51-year-old then arranged for the women to be trafficked across the Mediterranean – with one being told to pay a “bill” of €37,000 (£32,800).
Iyamu, formerly of Bermondsey, south London, was convicted on five counts of arranging or facilitating travel for sexual exploitation after a 10-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Jurors also convicted the Liberia-born British citizen of perverting the course of justice by arranging for relatives of the complainants in Nigeria to be arrested.
Her husband, 60-year-old Efe Ali-Imaghodor, was acquitted of carrying out acts intending to pervert the course of justice.
Iyamu is believed to be the first person to be convicted under Modern Slavery Act laws passed in 2015, allowing prosecutions of British citizens for sexual trafficking taking place overseas.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said Iyamu forced victims to take oaths that bound their loyalty to her on pain of death.
Iyamu, who was made a British citizen in 2009 having been allowed to stay in the UK due to her nursing qualifications, is known to have declared a modest income of around £14,500 in 2016-17 from her work as an NHS agency nurse.
But inquiries after Iyamu’s arrest in 2017 found she was able to afford to spend thousands on international air travel and to afford a large home in Benin City in Nigeria – complete with servants’ quarters.
Prosecutors said the voodoo rituals gave Iyamu crushing psychological control over the women, who were too afraid to challenge her or to fail to pay her back tens of thousands of euros she charged them to be trafficked into Germany.
Opening the case at the start of the trial, prosecutor Simon Davis told jurors: “Josephine Iyamu had a network of people who assisted her with trafficking the women from Nigeria overland to Libya – across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy and from Italy up and into Germany.
“She was there on the mobile phone along the way but her real role was at the end of their journey – when it came to getting money from the women and making a profit out of their exploitation. The debts incurred by the women were enforced through fear. Each of the women were put through what is known to some as a voodoo ceremony.
“Iyamu and others involved with her were willing to put these women at risk of serious injury and or death as they made their journey from Nigeria to Europe.”
Sentencing will take place next week.
“Josephine Iyamu is a calculating individual who used her apparent status as a rich, powerful and influential lady to intimidate and manipulate vulnerable Nigerian women,” said NCA operations manager Kay Mellor. “With zero regard for their safety and wellbeing, she sent them via dangerous routes to Germany and forced them to work in brothels to fund her own lifestyle.
“To her, these women were not human beings seeking a better life. They were merely a commodity which she could exploit to generate income for herself. I commend the bravery of the five women who came forward and recounted the abuse they suffered. Thanks to them, Iyamu will no longer pose a threat to others.”
Shehu Sani Mocks FG Poverty Alleviation Scheme
Civil Rights activist and former Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district, Shehu Sani has mocked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration plan to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
Recall that President Buhari administration has constantly reiterated plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
However, the last few days have seen Nigerians discover warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives are stored by state governments which have led to the raiding of the warehouses by Nigerians.
Reacting to the development, the former lawmaker described the move to be the consequence of Nigerians being tired of having to wait for 10 years to be lifted out of poverty.
See his tweet below:
The poor refused to wait for the Government to lift them out of poverty ‘in ten years’ and they went lifting bags of palliatives.
— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) October 25, 2020
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Nigerians have expressed their distaste for the tweet posted by Festus Keyamo over the #EndSARS protests that has led to lives and property being destroyed by hoodlums.
The Minister of State, Labour & Employment took to his Twitter page on Friday morning to post a tweet that reads thus:
“This morning, I woke up and remembered the African proverb: WHAT AN OLD MAN CAN SEE SITTING DOWN, A YOUNG MAN CAN’T SEE EVEN IF HE CLIMBS THE HIGHEST IROKO TREE. Good morning, Lagos. Good morning, Nigeria.”
A Twitter user identified as Adesina Oluwafemi berates the SAN for being a part of bad governance. “Mr. Keyamo. I am astonished at your statement. I am equally as old as you are if not older and I feel the pain of this our youth. I even have classmates that I can’t boast of. All these is because of bad governance which u are a part of“, he wrote.
See tweets below:
Nigerians React As Army Says Videos Of Lekki Shooting Are Photoshopped, Fake
Nigerians have reacted to the video of Nigeria’s defence spokesman, John Eneche, saying that the videos of the Lekki Tollgate shooting were photoshopped. In the video, he said it was analysed and the analyst concluded that they were all doctored.
His statement has generated reactions from Nigerians. Taking to Twitter, many Nigerian users on the micro-blogging platform have dismissed his statement as false because it is impossible to photoshop a live video on Instagram.
Information Nigeria recalls DJ Switch was hailed by Nigerians for her bravery as she waited at the scene of the incident to give everyone a live footage via her Instagram page.
A user identified as Tolani tweeted:
“Dear generation old Nigeria… you cannot photoshop Instagram live. Your ‘analyst’ has 419’d you sir.”
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