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Lagos-Bound Woman Arrested With 3 Abducted Children In Northeast Nigeria

There has been a spike in cases of missing children in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, with their disappearance regularly announced on radio stations.

A 46-year-old mother of two, Insa Henshaw, was on Thursday, Aug. 25, paraded by the police in Borno, Northeast Nigeria, after she was arrested at a bus station trying to travel with three children not related to her. 

According to the police, she was nabbed about three weeks ago when people spotted her trying to board a Lagos-bound bus with the children. The police said people in the park who noticed her strange behaviour with the children raised the alarm, which led to her arrest.

Borno state police commissioner, Abdu Umar, informed journalists at a press briefing that she was found with cash of about ₦400,000 ($938). 

“Mrs Insa Henshaw, 46 years of age who had between the 5th and 6th August abducted three children, Mustapha Abdullahi, 7, Abdullahi Mustapha, 5, and Hajara Alhassan, 3, with a motive of conveying them to one Lady-B who contracted her in Lagos with the sum of ₦500,000. The suspect was arrested and part of the proceeds, ₦410,000 was recovered from her.”


He added that the three children are safe, healthy,  and have been reunited with their parents. 

Henshaw, who appeared a little bit unsettled, claimed she abducted the children after she was spiritually manipulated by Lady-B, a rich international trader, whom she claimed was her colleague in a market in Lagos and has many shops. 

She said she owns a shop where she sells auto lubricants in Lagos.

”A woman called Lady-B called me and told me that she has been helping people and she has been helping them, that she wanted to help me too. And I asked her what kind of help. She said she wanted to help me to travel outside the country and help me and my suffering,” she narrated. 

“She then took me to a shrine in Ondo State where we met a native doctor. From there they gave me something and took me to a river to bathe in it. On the day that I was to set out for this trip, they gave me a ritual charm and told me that they would be sending me on an errand and that once I arrived at the destination, I should forget about any other thing and concentrate on the mission they sent me to accomplish. She gave me ₦500,000. She said I should go and bring children, that once I arrived I would see children. She gave me something to put in my mouth and once I talked to them, they would obey me. When I came here, I went to Monday Market and found the children and I carried them.”

The woman said Lady B warned her not to tell anybody, including her husband, and that she would die if anyone learned about her plan.

“She gave me the money and her phone number and said I should call her if I needed anything from her,” she said. 

She explained that she is the daughter of a retired soldier who had once served in Maiduguri, where she was born, before he was transferred to Lagos about 25 years ago. Lady-B had approached her to carry out the mission because she could understand and speak Hausa. 

She also said Maiduguri was chosen as the best place to kidnap the children because many children are displaced and roaming the streets unaccompanied

The police said they are investigating the matter and have launched a trail of Lady-B and other culprits involved in the heinous act. 

There has been a spike in cases of missing children in Maiduguri, with radio stations announcing new cases of disappearance almost daily. Such cases have been recorded in camps for internally displaced people too, with some of the children losing their lives shortly after the failed abductions.

Mallam Alhassan, one of the parents of the rescued children, denied that the kids were abducted in the market. 

“It was not true that my daughter, who is just three years was stolen from the market, ” he said. 

“We don’t allow our children to go far from the house, not to mention being found in the market. We just noticed that our girl was missing and we immediately launched a manhunt for her, and thank God she was found.”


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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist who has provided extensive coverage of the Lake Chad conflict in north-eastern Nigeria for over a decade. A graduate of English Language with a Diploma in Mass Communications. He previously worked as an assistant editor with Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper. Haruna has a strong knowledge of the Northeast and follows the trends in the region closely.

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