By Evelyn Usman
LAGOS—The three-year-old girl kidnapped by her mother’s apprentice, Grace John, who had resumed five days earlier at their Alagbado shop in Lagos two months ago, was found in Abia State, weekend.
The little girl, as reliably gathered, had been sold to three different buyers in the eastern part of the country for prices ranging from N500,000 to N600,000.
Vanguard gathered that after her abduction, she was taken to the kidnappers’ den, a forest in Badagry area of Lagos, from where her abductors proceeded to Onitsha, Anambra State, where she was sold to a woman for N500,000.
Dissatisfied with the choice of a baby girl, the first buyer, with an undisclosed identity, was said to have sold the girl to another buyer for N500,000 in Awka, Anambra State capital. The second buyer, in turn, sold the child to another man in Umuahia, Abia State capital for N600,000.
Information at Vanguard’s disposal revealed that operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS, Lagos State Police Command, traced Grace to Badagry area of Lagos, where she was arrested.
Her arrest led the operatives to the eastern part of the country, where the missing child was found on Sunday.
Vanguard gathered that some gunmen, who intended to sell the child to a fourth buyer, dropped her close to a Catholic Church, amidst gunshots, unknown to them that FSARS operatives had cordoned off the area.
However, the operatives, as gathered, could not respond for fear of hurting the toddler.
Police sources hinted that “we used Grace as bait to get the first buyer in Onitsha. She called the buyer on phone and told her that she had a ‘trouser,’ which is a codename for a male victim.
“The woman came to meet her at a bus stop, where she was apprehended. She led us to the second buyer, who in turn, led us to the third, who was also about to sell her. So far three persons have been arrested.”
Parents thank Vanguard, police
As at 5p.m. yesterday, the baby’s elated parents were still at the Abia State Police Command. Speaking with Vanguard, her father, Mr. Elesh Adebiyi, said: “We give God praise and also thank Vanguard for the assistance rendered.
“Our daughter is hale and hearty. We are grateful to FSARS and the Nigeria Police in general. This feat has further re-affirmed my confidence in the Force.”
Recall that the baby’s unsuspecting mother, Mrs Oluwatobiloba Adebiyi, allowed her daughter to follow Grace, who was going to buy snacks, after efforts to pacify the child, who was crying then, failed.
However, apprehension set in moments later, after an endless wait for Grace and the baby to return. Grace could not be reached on her phone as it was switched off.
Since her abduction, the parents were not contacted for any ransom, suggesting that it was not a case of kidnapping, until the arrest of Grace, who was said to be planning for another operation elsewhere.