Sola Charles, AsabaThe Delta State Police Command Have rescued two newborn children from suspected child traffickers along Benin- Onitsha Expressway by Okpanam.The State Commissioner of Police, CP. Hafiz Mohammed Inuwa made the disclosure while parading suspects for various crimes at Asaba.Inuwa said, “Two suspected child traffickers, one Tolulope Bosede, female, 45years and Abiola Komolafe, female, 20 years, both from Akure in Ondo State were intercepted and arrested while on transit in a commercial bus along Asaba/ Benin Expressway.They were suspected to have sold a newly born male child, delivered by Abiola Komolafe,to a trafficker in Onitsha and were heading back to their base in Akure.In the course of investigation and following the confession of Tolulope Bosede, it was revealed that she tricked pregnant Abiola Komolafe from Akure to Onitsha where she successfully gave birth to a baby boy, but she later took the baby from her and sold him to one Mrs Nkaneme Melife(37years) in Onitsha while she lied to the mother that the baby died some hours after delivery.The buyer Mrs Nkanefe Melife also later sold the child to another buyer, one Mrs Ekunno Ifeyinwa.“Meanwhile, the two buyers have been arrested with one Josephine Unnoha and the stolen child was recovered.The arrest led to the recovery of another two weeks old male child also suspected to have been stolen from Mrs Ekunno Ifeyinwa”.
Anyone who engaged children under 12 yeas as domestic workers in Edo state now risks seven years imprisonment.
Also, anyone convicted for recruiting or receiving any child or adult for force labour or even permitting any place or premises for such act, is liable to five years imprisonment and a fine of N5 million.
The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. (Mrs.) Yinka Omorogbe, made this disclosure while parading two women, Mrs. Martina Oziegbe and Mrs. Idehen Grace, who were allegedly involved in child trafficking, abuse and modern slavery of teenagers.
Omorogbe, who is also head, Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking, warned that culprits would be prosecuted and if find guilty, would be convicted henceforth.
She stressed that the Taskforce is empowered by the law to investigate and prosecute anyone who engages in trafficking in persons.
She said, “Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking is empowered by the law to investigate and prosecute human trafficking.
“It is an offense to employ, recruit, harbor, transport, receive or hire out a child under 12 years of age, as a domestic worker.
“Many of these children that are hired as domestic workers are under the age of 12. This not allowed at all. Anybody who does this commits an offense and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a minimum term of six months and not exceeding seven years.
“Anybody who requires, recruit, transport, harbor, receive or hire out a person to be used for force labour, within or outside Edo State, or permit any place or premises to be used for force labour, commit an offense and is liable on conviction of imprisonment of not less than five years and a fine of N5 million.
“When you are bringing someone as house help, you need to know it must not be a child or teenager, it must be an adult. In Edo State, all children are to go to school. Child labour, child trafficking, is not allowed, that is the law,” Omorogbe said.
She emphasised that it is a crime to take a child to one’s side in guise of taking care of such child and deprived the child of his or her dignity and right to education.
She said “regardless of where the child comes from or the status, no child in Edo State is for sale, saying, Edo State is not a place where a child or a young person can be bought or sold.”
The accused persons who pleaded ignorance of the act, were however pardoned due to the fact that it was the Taskforce’s first outing of parading suspect.
A suspected child trafficker, Ndukeabasi Okon, has revealed how they sell a male child for N400,000 and a female child for N300,000.
The suspect, who was arrested by policemen in Akwa Ibom State, revealed that she had been in the business of trafficking since 2016 with her husband, Ndianaabasi Okon, now at large.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Frederick Nnudam, who made the disclosure, said officers acted on a tip-off and swooped on the “babies’ factory,” rescuing a seven-month pregnant Peace Okon Sunday, aged 17, from Eka Ediene village, and Esther Jeremiah, 15, of Ikot Inyang village.
Nnudam also disclosed that a combined team of Itu Division and Anti-Child Theft equally intercepted an 18-seater bus with number plates YEN 709 XA, conveying six underage children.
He added that during investigation, the suspects, one Esther Asuquo Akpan, 42, and Otobong Solomon Akpan, 21, suspected traffickers, confessed that they were taking the victims to Osun State for child labour.
The victims included Akpan, 12; Edim, 14; Michael, 15; Amos, 16; Etim, 16; Akpan, 16, all males of Akpabuyo, Cross River State.
He said the command had transferred the children to Ministry of Women Affairs for custody, while the suspects were charged to court.
The police in Lagos have arrested a child trafficking couple with two kids they allegedly bought for N140,000 in the Ojo area of the state.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Bala Elkana said on Sunday that acting on information from a credible source, detectives from Ojo Division led by the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Abdullah Malah, arrested one Chukwunonso Blessing, 30, of No 23 Masebinu Street, Igbede, Ojo.
According to Elkana, she was seen along Alaba International Market with two children, namely Joshua James, 6 and Samuel Gbawune, 3, trying to board a vehicle to Onitsha, Anambra State.
“Upon questioning, she claimed that the boys were adopted by her husband one Chukwunoso Happiness ‘m’ 40 years from a Motherless Baby home in Jos, Plateau State and brought to Lagos. Accordingto her, she was taking them to Onitsha to meet her husband.
On Friday, November 1, 2019 at about 0700hrs the said husband was also arrested by the police. He confessed to have bought the kids at the sum of N140,000 from one Mama Oyoo of Jos township. The kids were recovered.
“Efforts are in place to identify their parents and reunite them. The Command call on Motor Park Operators, Unions and well meaning Nigerians to keep an eye on passengers with kids that appear suspicious,” he said.