The Abia State Police Command has arrested members of three suspected child trafficking syndicates, including 17-year-old Gift Daniel, who sold her two-day-old baby boy for N670,000.
The Police Commissioner, Anthony Ogbizi, said this on Monday, while briefing newsmen in Umuahia on the activities of the command.
Ogbizi also said the command arrested no fewer than 22 other suspected criminals, following raids by his men in the wake of renewed criminal acts in different parts of the state.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen, Daniel said she was compelled to sell the baby due to financial difficulties.
She said her first baby, also a boy, was sold by her own mother after delivery, hence her resolve to personally sell the second baby.
She said: “My mother sent me away from the house when I became pregnant for the second baby and because of the financial difficulties, I started looking for somebody to help me.”
Daniel said she was given N50,000 by the woman that brokered the transaction, 38-year-old Ngozi Nwaiwu, while the nurse, Kate Charles, who helped her during her delivery, got N30,000.
Nwaiwu, who also confirmed the sale to newsmen, said she was trying to help Daniel, considering her plight.
Police also arrested 22-year-old Blessing Chukwu, who sold her three-week-old baby girl, along with the alleged buyer, 40-year-old Chinasa Okpara.
Other alleged accomplices, Puphemia Omende, and her husband, Kelechi, a medical practitioner, were also arrested.
Police alleged that the couple facilitated the transaction at their facility, Winnies Hospital, Okigwe, where the baby was born.
Okpara said she paid N360,000 for the baby and blamed her action on her 13-year-old fruitless marriage.
Chukwu said she already had four children out of wedlock.
She said she was given N190,000 for the three-week old baby, blaming her action on financial challenges.
They were arrested at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, were the baby had reportedly been on admission for the past three weeks.
The command also nabbed 23-year-old Rose Chukwu together with her relation, Joy Sunday, while allegedly attempting to kidnap a little boy at Uzuakoli in Bende Local Government Area.
Police alleged that the duo kidnapped the boy at Township Primary School, Uzuakoli after school and replaced his uniform with another shirt.
They were taking him away when someone alerted the police.
The suspects denied the alleged kidnap attempt, saying they saw the boy wandering and felt that he missed his way and decided to help him to find his way back home.
No fewer than 22 other people, mostly young men, were arrested for various offences, including robbery, cultism and kidnapping.
Ogbizi expressed discomfort with the ease suspected criminals were being discharged by courts during prosecution.
He said: “I am worried about the way the Ministry of Justice discharges suspected criminals.
“They should consult the police before releasing them.”
He said that suspected criminals, who got released during prosecution, return to society to continue with their criminality.
The police boss said the suspects, who were paraded before newsmen, would be arraigned at the end of the investigation.