BY PETER OKUTU
The Ebonyi State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC recorded a major breakthrough in its operations last week, when a two-year old girl, Gift Adaobi who was allegedly sold by her grandmother (names withheld) was rescued alive.
The rescue followed the arrest of four persons suspected to be involved in human trafficking at Nkor junction near Nwenzenyi in the Izzi Local Government Area of the state.
The arrest has since fueled fears that such crimes may be happening surreptitiously in other Council areas without the knowledge of security agencies in the State.
Vanguard Metro, VM, learnt that the baby who was allegedly sold at the cost of N350, 000 by her grandmother in Cross River State to a buyer who was identified as Mrs. Ngboro Chikezie, an Area Officer with the State Ministry Health, was rescued after a month’s surveillance on the suspects by officials of NSCDC.
Apart from the education officer, other suspects according to the Corps include a native doctor, a school teacher in Abakaliki and a young man who lives in the neighbourhood where the arrest was effected.
The Commandant of NSCDC in Ebonyi State, Mrs. Ego Echendu revealed that the prompt arrest of the
suspects last by the Arms Squad and Anti-Human Traffic Unit of the Command was what foiled the plot by the suspects to transfer their victim to Abuja.
The Commandant who stated that several other suspects connected with the sale of the baby were still at large, explained that as soon as the Command completes its investigations, the case would be transferred to the agency responsible for such matters. “Yesterday, we were able to arrest some suspects we have been trailing and monitoring for about one month now who are involved in child trafficking.
We have some of them now in our custody while some are still at large. Based on the information we got, we arrested them in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State to beprecise at Nkor junction near Nwenzenyi. From the information we have gathered so far, one of them is a dealer.
This is not the first baby she has sold. The other suspect is a buyer and we don’t know how many times she must have done that,” she said.
Continuing,the Commandant said, “We had to strike yesterday following the information that reached us. The buyer was about to move to Abuja to another set of people for a higher amount of money. The information we got was that the baby was bought at the cost of N253, 500. We are tiding up our file. This is not one of our core mandates and for that reason, we shall transfer the case to the agency saddled with such responsibility. They have confessed to the crime and have given us some names”.
“The dealer is Blessing Nwilo, a teacher with Sharon Secondary School, Abakaliki, but hails from Enugu. The buyer is Ngboro Chikezie from Ohaukwu Local Government Area and she claims that she is an Area Officer with the Ministry of Education in Ebonyi State,”Mrs Echendu alleged.
Narrating her ordeal, the mother of the victim, Miss Ndidi Nkwegu alleged that it was her mother who is based in Cross River State that masterminded the sale of her daughter, Gift Adaobi, to a human trafficker when she travelled to Ebonyi State in search of a job.
“When I came back home and asked my mother about my daughter, she couldn’t tell me anything reasonable.
I discovered that she had bought so many things which she didn’t have before. Actually, my mother was unhappy when she discovered that I was pregnant of this baby. I left the baby with her (my mother) last month,” the lady who hails from Igbeagu in the Izzi Local Government Area, said.
“My mother resides in Cross River state and that was where I left my baby with my mother. The baby is two years and one month old. I decided to leave my baby with my mother because she (my baby) can do almost everything on her own. I had to call the police for her; she is now in detention at the Police station in Cross River State.
After interrogation, we discovered that she was the one that sold my baby to a woman who is a dealer in children,” Ndidi alleged.
The alleged dealer who hails from Enugu State and the buyer who confessed to the crime, however gave contradictory accounts on where, how and why the baby was sold.
VM gathered that the NSCDC has intensified efforts to arrest other fleeing suspects.