By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—Ogun State Police Command has arrested a Bible study teacher, Blessing Ozor, for being in custody of a boy, Joshua Joseph, who went missing two years ago.
The seven-year-old boy went missing in Ijebu-Ode area of the state and was allegedly sold to Ozor for N1 million in Anambra State in 2018.
The boy, however, regained his freedom in 2019 after he had been renamed Chisom in Ozor’s house.
It was gathered that Joseph’s abductors met their waterloo after two of the three-member syndicate, Rita and Angela, were arrested and remanded in the correctional home in Edo and Ondo states for kidnapping-related offence.
They confessed, during the investigation, of Joseph’s whereabouts.
Ozor claimed innocence of the crime, saying she adopted the child for N1 million from one Ifeoma Joy, a level 13 civil servant in Anambra State.
During the handing over of the boy to his parent, Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said Joy sold the child to Ozor based on forged documents.
He said: “Joy works in the Ministry of Women Affairs in Anambra State, a leverage she used in selling off children kidnapped by her other members of the syndicate, Rita and Angela.
“In the cause of looking for her, she got transfered to four local government areas within one month to evade arrest.
”Our findings have shown that eight children have been stolen by this syndicate in Ogun State and four have been recovered. One of the stolen children was found when the people who adopted him saw the boy’s picture on the pages of newspapers and returned him.”
However, Joy told journalists: “I never did such a thing. I know the woman that brought this boy to be a worker at Peace Sisters Home.
“So when my sister in fellowship came up with an idea of adopting a baby, I called her to help us get a baby boy and I gave Rita my sister’s particulars. When she finished with the particulars she came with this boy. I never knew the boy was stolen.”
Explaining her part, Ozor said: “I am just a victim of circumstances by my foolishness. I went to a sister in our fellowship that adopted a child before, because I have two daughters already. But I had a feeling for a son; my last daughter is 24 years old.
“I went through her because they had adopted before. They led me to this woman, Joy. I believed that everything was okay because she made me believe that she runs a peace sisters home. I was asked to bring a passport and other documents for the adoption, and I gave them to her .
“I gave her N150,000 for processing of the papers. The day she gave me the boy, there was a denouncement paper. That was the first paper she gave me and then collected her remaining money, N900, 000.
“Joy processed other papers, which I believed until were genuine, and gave them to me. That was why I took the boy home and started taking care of him from March 3, 2018, and I enrolled him into a nice school.”