The Anambra State Police Command has rescued eight children, including a pregnant 15-year-old, trafficked from various parts of the country.
The spokesman of the Anambra State Police Command, Haruna Mohammed, who confirmed the development in a statement on Tuesday, said majority of those rescued were from the South East and South South.
Mohammed said the children were trafficked by a five-man syndicate, adding that the kingpin of the suspects, were already in police net, sold the children for prices dependent on their ages.
He said: “On September 13, following intelligence report, police detectives attached to Onisha Area Command in collaboration with the Command State intelligence Bureau (SIB) arrested five members of a child stealing/trafficking syndicate as follows: Mrs Joy (surname withheld by us) 40, of house number 138 Urata area Aba, Abia State; Janet, 22, of 12 Irete Street Owerri, Imo State; Gideon, 26, of Port Harcourt in River State; Wisdom, 26, of Chokosho village Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Chukwudimma, 29 years of 138 Urata area Aba, Abia State.
“The suspects specialised in child snatching, child stealing and trafficking from different parts of the country especially South East and South-South geopolitical zones. Preliminary investigation revealed that the children (five boys and three girls) were stolen from Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo, Abia and Anambra states both at gun points and through stealing after which they were sold to the kingpin in Abia State.
“Consequently, upon interrogation, the suspects voluntarily confessed that they usually steal the children and bring to their sponsor one Mrs Joy ‘f’ of Urata in Abia State who allegedly buys the children at the rate of between N200,000 to N400,000 depending on their age and gender.
“Further investigation also revealed that in addition to child stealing and trafficking, the same sponsor, Mrs Joy also lure underage girls into having pregnancy after which she would buy the children from them immediately after delivery.
“So far, eight children of various age brackets were rescued from the syndicates including a year and half old baby recently snatched from the parent at gun point in Orlu, Imo State as well as a 15-year-old pregnant girl. Investigation is still ongoing after which all the suspects would be brought to book.
“Meanwhile, all the children are in the protective care and would be handed over to the social welfare department for custodial care.
“In view of the foregoing, the Commissioner of Police, John Abang, urges parents and guardians to always monitor their children and cautioned them against strangers. The CP further enjoins the public whose children were either stolen or missing to report at Onitsha Area Command for proper identification and claiming of their children.”