By Ike Uchechukwu
CALABAR—Cross River Police Command has arrested a couple for allegedly trafficking their two-year-old son to an agent in Port Harcourt in exchange for money.
Vanguard learned that the boy was given out as collateral for N21,000 house rent, because the father could not afford it and he did so without his wife’s consent.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, while parading the suspects yesterday, at the Command Headquarters in Calabar, said they were arrested on July 23 in Calabar, after a report by the child’s mother, Mrs. Magdalene Bassey.
Speaking further, Inuwa explained that the mother of the child reported that it was her husband, Mr. Daniel Bassey, that gave out the child to a trafficking agent for an undisclosed amount of money.
In his words: “On July 23, one Mrs. Magdalene Bassey reported at Efut Divisional Headquarters in Calabar that her husband, Mr. Daniel Bassey, took their first son to an unknown person in Port Harcourt through one woman called Mummy.
“The Police crack team immediately swung into action and arrested the suspect. During interrogation, he revealed that his wife was a party to the transaction. As we speak, the couple is in Police custody to unravel the cause of this inhuman action and possible prosecution.”
The suspect told Vanguard in an interview that he gave out the child as collateral for N180, 000 to help him pay his house rent.
According to him, “I did it based on the debt of N21,000 I collected from a friend to pay my house rent and I have no other valuable thing apart from him. So I used him as collateral to get the money to clear my debt.
“There is no work in this rainy season, so I am unemployed. A guy from my area informed me that he knows a woman who lends money to people. My friend told me that I can give out the child as collateral to get the money without necessarily selling him.
“The woman gave me N180,000 immediately after she received the child. After that, my mother-in-law came and asked me of the child and I lied to her that I took the baby to my brother for holiday.”
The Commissioner also paraded 37 suspected robbers, 20 suspected cultists, eight suspects for unlawful possession of fire-arms, five suspects for murder, among others.
He assured that the command would continue to work in collabo-ration with other security agencies and residents in the state with a view to safe guarding lives and properties.