By Esther Onyegbula & Nimat Otori
A 20-year-old nursing mother, Onyineyechi, whose baby was stolen and sold by a child trafficking syndicate, who pretentiously came to marry her, has revealed how she almost lost her baby to the suspected traffickers in Anyeamelu local government area of Anambra State.
According to Onyineyechi, “my troubles began five months after I had my baby Chimunanya out of wedlock.
“A young man who lives in our community and Chinyere Okechukwu came to ask for my hand in marriage. The young man in question is a friend, we use to talk and he was the one that brought (Madam Chichi) Chinyere who acted as his sister.
“Within the week after necessary negotiations with my family, they paid my dowry and a few days later I had to travel with them back to Lagos.
“On the day of our trip, my supposed husband wasn’t there, when I asked, Madam Chichi said he has been transferred to Abuja.”
Explaining further, Onyineyechi said that “on our way she bought a juice for me, which I drank by the time I woke up I didn’t find my baby.
“Immediately I began to ask for my baby, Madam Chichi said my baby was with her sister. When we got to Lagos, I kept disturbing her that I want my baby.
“With the phone she bought for me, I contacted my mother. I told her they had taken my baby from me. She said I should keep requesting for My child.
“So I kept disturbing Madam Chichi that I need my baby back. All these while I didn’t know they have sold my baby already. Madam Chichi kept saying, tomorrow, they will reconnect me with my child.
“It was after the police got involved that the woman who bought my baby was contacted and my baby retrieved and handed over to me.
“They didn’t tell me how much they sold my baby but they told the police. It was later that I found out.”
Parading the three suspects involved in the sale of the baby, the Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, said that at about 3.45 pm, the Onyineyechi Okafor, reported to the Police at Satellite Division that her five-month-old son, was forcefully taken away by Chinyere Okechukwu, of No 24, Muyiwa Opalyeye Street Surulere and sold him for Nine Hundred Thousand Naira to one Happiness Ibebuilo of Iyana Oba Lagos.
Immediately the Police swung into action and moved to the house of one Ibebuilo Paul, in whose custody the stolen child was recovered.
The suspected members of the child trafficking syndicate identified as Chinyere Okechukwu, Happiness Ibebuilo, and Paul Ibebuilo are currently being investigated by the Gender Unit of the State CID for discreet investigation.
Denying the allegation, Chinyere Okechukwu, one of the suspects said that Onyineyechi’s parents were aware that her baby will be separated from her. She alleged that the baby wasn’t sold.
According to another of the paraded suspects, Mr Paul, “I don’t know anything about the transaction, but I was the one who picked up the baby from Maza Maza. It was my wife that gave me the number of person who gave me the baby.
“It was after I called the number that I went to receive the baby at Maza-Maza.
“I immediately took the baby to the police station where I was arrested and made to join my wife in the police station as an accomplice.
“The only reason I agreed to pick up the baby was because the police said that they will release my wife if I did. Unfortunately, after I did I was arrested,” he said, denying participation in child trafficking.