By PETER DURU, Makurdi
The Benue state Police Command has rescued 17 underaged children from a suspected child trafficking syndicate who specialized in picking children from Benue and neighboring states for distribution to yet to be identified persons in Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan.
Also arrested by the command, were eight members of the gang who were nabbed along Otukpo-Enugu while conveying their victims to unknown persons around the country.
Parading the suspects and victims at the state command Headquarters in Makurdi, Benue state capital, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adams Audu said “few days ago, my men on stop and search duty along Otukpo-Enugu road intercepted three mini buses loaded with 55 persons among them 17 children of ages between five to seventeen.
“Among them were ten boys and seven girls and upon interrogation, the suspects confessed that they were taking the children to Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan.
The suspects confessed to have taken the children away from their parents at Oju in Benue state and Yala in Cross River state and they were to be given out to strangers who subject them to child labour, prostitution and hawking in return for money for both parents and the suspects who take the trade as their means of livelihood.”
The Commissioner of Police also sued for assistance of the public in its bid to apprehend the fleeing members of another child trafficking syndicate who recruit medically deformed children for begging and prostitution along streets in major towns in the country.
He said, “ Tyotyev Tarchill and Tyodoo Yamuer were liaison of the child trafficking syndicate in Benue state who collude with parents to send out their children for begging and prostitution in urban cities.
He said, the Police in Lagos in collaboration with an NGO of the former Inspector General of Police, ”Hands that Care Foundation” arrested the victims and suspects led by one Chigozie Amechi, who operates from Lagos and Port Harcourt with links to other suspects in Benue state.
Mr. Audu said he has ordered full scale investigations into the matters pleading for cooperation with members of the public in its constitutional responsibilities of protecting the lives and property of the people of the state.