A child trafficking syndicate was infiltrated by the Rivers state police command just two weeks into the new year.
Ten pregnant women were saved, and four alleged traffickers were also arrested.
When the C41 intelligence unit of the Command conducted a raid on two homes in the Igwuruta and Omagwa communities, respectively, of the Ikwerre local government area where victims of child trafficking were being housed, the four alleged child traffickers were taken into custody.
According to a statement by the command’s spokesman, SP Grace RACE Iringe-Koko, on January 7 at around 4:45 pm, acting on reliable intelligence, the operative raided the homes and freed ten women—most of whom were pregnant—from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and Benue.
The statement reads: “On Saturday 7th January 2023, at about 1645hrs acting on credible intelligence available to the Rivers State Police Command, C4I Intelligence Unit Operatives, raided two houses at Igwuruta and Omagwa communities respectively, where victims of child trafficking were being kept. In the operation, the suspects were arrested by the police operatives: Favour Bright ‘F’, 30 years old, from Umudioga Community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, and Peace Alikoi ‘F’, 40 years old, from Igwuruta Community in Ikwere Local Government Area, who is the leader of the trafficking syndicate, Noble Uzuchi ‘m’ 17 years old and Chigozie Ogbonna ‘m’ 29 years old.
“The victims rescued in the operation are Ten (10) most of them pregnant they include: Gift Saviour ‘F’ 19yrs from Umudioga Community in Ikwere Local Government Area, Favour Charles ‘F’ 23yrs from Abale Community in Obingwa LGA of Abia State, Joy Monday ‘F’ 21yrs from Bumy Community Gokana Local Government Ares Rivers State, Chiagoro Nice ‘F’ 19yrs from Ndas Community Etche Local Government Area, Blessing Francis ‘F’ 28yrs from Ngwa Community Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area Akwa Ibom State, Joy Emmanuel ‘F’ 29yrs from Ikot Obiom Community in Nsit Ibiom Local Government Area Akwa Ibom State, Precious Kalu ‘F’ 25yrs from Umudioga Emohua Local Government Area Rivers State.
“Others are: Cynthia Ekeh ‘F’ 27yrs from Okpuala Community Ngor Okpuala Local Government Area Imo State, and Queen Amos ‘F’ 28yrs from Owase Community in Kwande Local Government Area Benue State. Chika Nwosa ‘F’ 15yrs from Umudioga Emohua Local Government Area, Chigozie Ogbonna ‘M’ 29yrs From Abale Community Obingwa Local Government Area Abia State, and Noble Uzochi ‘M’ 17 years from Omuobasa Community in Osisioma Local Government Area of Abia State
The PPRO statement said investigation into the case revealed that when the victim delivered, the syndicate leader keeps the baby while she pays the victim the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Naira, noting that all the victims have confessed that they lured them to the illicit sales of their children because of the need to meet some financial challenges.
She further said the case has been transferred to the State CID as efforts are being intensified to track and arrest the buyers of the children already sold out.
“Investigation into the case so far reveals that when the victim delivered, the syndicate leader would keep the baby while she pays the victim a sum of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500, 000:00). All the victims confessed that they have been lured to the illicit sales of children because of the need to meet some financial challenges. Honda Pilot Jeep with Reg. Number, Lagos, FST 607 AX, white was recovered from the syndicate leader.
“The case has been transferred to the State CID and efforts are being intensified to track and arrest the buyers of the children already sold out.
PPRO reaffirmed the commitment of the command to reducing crime and criminality in all its forms to the barest minimum and urged the public to remain vigilant.