The police in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, on Monday smashed a child trafficking syndicate based in Obosi in Idemili North Local Government Area and rescued 12 children suspected to have been stolen.
SP Haruna Mohammed, the Police Public Relations Officer in Anambra State, named the suspects as Hauwa Musa and Nkechi Odinye (55 years) both female.
The two women were presented to the public on Tuesday at the Police Command Headquarters in Awka for allegedly trafficking in children from different parts of the country to Anambra.
Mohammed said that Hauwa stole some children on October 20, 2019 and sold them to Odinye who was the financier of the syndicate.
He said intelligence led the police to the discovery that the children were stolen from somewhere in Gombe State following which a public announcement was made.
He said two parents who lost their children traced them to Anambra a week later after a police announcement about them and after identification, the children reunited with their parents.
Investigation revealed that the children were stolen from Gombe State by one Hauwa Musa on October 20, 2019 and brought to her accomplices in Anambra State.
“Following the public announcement by the command on October 27, 2019, parents of the two kids from Gombe State came to Awka and identified their children.
“The children have since reunited with their parents and suspects were handed over to Gombe State Police Command for further investigation and prosecution,” he stated.
He said Odinye was arrested on Monday, August 31, 2020, by operatives of Special Anti Cult Section and 3-3 Division, Onitsha, in her hideout in Obosi, after being on the run for about three years.
“The suspect who evaded arrest for over three years has remained on the run, busy changing locations until her arrest,” he said.
Mohammed said the suspects voluntarily confessed to the crime and that Odinye was the buyer who paid between N200, 000 and N400,000 per child depending on age and gender.
“Consequently, upon interrogation the suspects voluntarily confessed that they usually steal the children and bring to their sponsor one Mrs Nkechi Odinye.
“She allegedly buys the children here in Anambra State at the rate of between N200 and N400,000 depending on their age and gender.
“The team equally rescued 12 children of various age brackets, comprising eight boys and four girls, reasonably suspected to have been stolen from different parts of the country under her custody.
“The children are presently under protective care and Investigation is still ongoing,” he stated.
Mohammed urged parents and guardians to always monitor their children and caution them against following strangers.
He urged parents whose children were either stolen or missing to report at 3-3 Police Station Onitsha for proper identification and claim them.
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