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Police bust child trafficking syndicate, recover three stolen children in A’Ibom

Operatives of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command have arrested three suspects for child trafficking.

The suspects arrested across three states include Peace Patrick Paul of Obot in Akara, Akwa Ibom; Mary Eunice in Aba, Abia; and Bella Uko in Asaba, Delta.

Parading them alongside other suspects of various crimes at the police headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia, Uyo, on Wednesday, Akwa Ibom Commissioner of Police, Olatoye Durosinmi, explained that Paul deceived Utibeabasi Monday Enang and stole her two children, who are three and five years old, in May and sold them to Eunice in Aba, who in turn sold them to Uko in Asaba.

Durosinmi said the mother of the stolen children was almost beaten to death when she demanded her children from the suspect and had to flee for her life.

The Commissioner of Police also disclosed that a female suspect, Alayodi Paul Onyekwere of Abroma, Rivers State, was arrested for stealing the 11-year-old daughter of Emmanuel Macauley Daniel of Ikot Ikot Village in Obot Akara LGA.

He said: “The suspect alleged that she was sent by her grandmother to steal the child, which she led operatives to recover in Rivers State. The children are here today and will be reunited with their families.”

In an interview, the mother of the two children, Utibeabasi Enang, explained that the suspect deceived her with a promise to take her to a hospital in Ikot Abasi to treat her for an ailment but attempted to kill her after taking her children to an unknown destination.

According to her: “After Peace took me to the hospital in Ikot Abasi, where it was diagnosed that I had internal heat, she took me to the houses of her different boyfriends, where we stayed for over three weeks. When I started asking for my children, she promised to take me to where they were.

“On our way, she asked the driver to stop by a bridge, saying we would have to cross the bridge. As we were trying to cross the bridge, Peace started beating me and attempted to push me into the river, but I struggled with her until a man who lived close by came to rescue me. He took me to his house, where I used his phone to call someone to send me money because Peace had seized my phone from me.

“When I returned to my village, I reported the matter to my village chairman, who reported the case to Yak Iyamma organisation. I really thank God that after everything, my children were found.”

Also paraded was Sunday Michael Ben, a father who was accused of raping his six-year-old daughter.

The suspect, during interrogation, said: “I had my daughter with me in the house, and that night, I woke up to fix my heater that was bad because there was light. I didn’t touch her. I believe my girlfriend, who was with me in the house, committed the act. I only noticed in the morning that she had bloodstains on her leg.”

The victim, on her part, explained that somebody touched her at night, but she couldn’t say anything or see the person who touched her.

The Commissioner of Police affirmed that the suspects would be charged in court after the conclusion of investigations.