By Emeka Mamah
Police detectives in Imo State recently recorded a breakthrough when they rescued a three-year-old boy from a notorious gang of kidnappers. The boy, Nse Eyisere, was allegedly kidnapped from Ugbodogwu Farm Settlement in Ovie North Local Government Area of Edo State by one Nelson Dumbiri Okoji, a suspected cult leader and taken to Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State where he was sold to one Heggai Eromaka of Ubi-Agwa in the same area. Okoji was reportedly alleged to have connived with one Ozioma, a member of his community to kidnap their victim.
According to police sources, Eromaka, the man that bought the boy, in company of his girl friend, Oluchi, later re-sold Eyisere to a Homoeopathic Doctor in Port Harcourt, Francis Onyekwuru, for N250, 000, before the later, a native of Mbano in the state, further sold the boy to another suspected notorious child trafficker, Ngozi Samuel Chukwuka for N500,000.
However, trouble was said to have begun for the kidnappers, when some members of the Ambush Squad set up by Imo State Police Commissioner, Alhaji Mohammed Katsina got wind of the transactions and placed the syndicate on surveillance.
The source said, ‘’We got wind of the kidnap when a member of Ubi Agwa Community hinted us that a man had a stolen child to sell. The Divisional Police Officer in Oguta, Ikembuchukwu Abugu then detailed under cover agents to pretend as a buyers. As at that time, they put the price at N250,000, so we priced higher. However, the suspects became apprehensive and spirited the child out of Uba-Agwa to Port Harcourt and sold him to the homoeopathic doctor.
“As we were trailing the suspects, some of who are believed to be members of the Degbam Cult group, we were not aware that the biological father of the child, Mr Rowland Ekoti had been detained following reports made to the police in Edo State that he had kidnapped his son.
“According to our findings, Ekoti and Esther Isong, the mother of Eyisere who are from Akwa Ibom State met and fell in love at the Ugbodogwu Farm Settlement in Edo State which produced Eyisere about three years ago.
‘’However, the two love birds fell apart when Rowland reportedly denied ownership of the pregnancy and abandoned Esther. After Eyisere’s birth, Esther’s parents adopted the child as theirs even as both Rowland and Esther moved on with their lives. But, there was a snag, when Esther married her present husband and started having children for him, Rowland also married another woman who was yet to give him a child. This prompted him to start making moves to reclaim Eyisere, which Esther and her parents stoutly opposed.
‘’On several occasions, Rowland was said to have sent thugs to take away Eyisere forcefully but failed, making him the number one suspect in the kidnap saga when the boy was stolen, as Esther reported to the police that she suspected that Rowland stole the boy. It was when we arrested the suspected child traffickers / kidnappers that Rowland was released from the police cell in Edo State from where he proceeded to Imo State police Command to reclaim the child with Esther.’’
Meanwhile, the suspects would soon be charged to court for kidnapping and child trafficking among other offences.