By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—Imo State Police Command has smashed a child trafficking syndicate, arrested eight suspects and rescued 11 children, including two-day-old twins.
According to a statement by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, the arrests were effected between July 24 and August 17.
Enwerem said: “Operatives of the Imo State Police Command, have arrested eight suspects in connection with child stealing and trafficking. The arrests were made between July 24 and August 17 at Agbor Park in Benin City, Edo State and Imo State, respectively.”
The PPRO disclosed that 11 stolen children were rescued from the suspects, pointing out that some of the rescued children have been identified and reunited with their parents.
The PPRO gave the names of the rescued children as Somtochukwu, 9; his sister, Kosarachi, 7, who were stolen from their parents at Akokwa, Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State on August 15.
“Others are Onyinyechi, stolen in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on November 30, 2014; Divine, stolen at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Onuimo; four-year-old Habeeb and two-year old Wunmi, suspected to have been stolen from Sabo Ajangbadi area of Lagos State,” he added.
The rest, according to the police image-maker are five-year-old Chisere and Ndubuisi, whose age has remained unverified.
He continued: “The most pathetic is the two-day-old twin babies, a boy and a girl. The babies were also stolen from their parents by these criminals.”
The PPRO then gave the names of the suspects as Ikewete Lucy Ann and Theresa Asiegbu, both of Umuikpa Ozu Urualla, Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State, as well as Chioma Emeka from Umuanumoke, Okigwe Local Government Area of same state.
Equally mentioned in the list are Happiness Peter from Iyala, Ogoja, Cross River State; Martina Nwadike of Agbor Park, Benin City, Edo State; Martha Ojimba, a native of Mgbee, Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, as well as Chizoba Eze and Amaka Eze, both of Ngwo, Udi council of Enugu State.
He said: “The suspects have confessed to have sold some of the children for between N300, 000 and N600,000 before they were arrested.”
He appealed to parents and guardians whose child or children are missing to report to the Public Relations Department of the State Police Command.