…Convicts 52 traffickers
By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
NO fewer than 1,444 victims have been rescued and processed by the Uyo Zonal command of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP from 2021 till now.
The Zonal commander of NAPTIP, Mrs. Tina Ugwu, who disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday in Uyo, explained that 723 of the rescued victims were from Akwa Ibom, 413 from Cross River, 282 from Bayelsa while 16 were from Rivers State.
Ugwu added that within the period under review that the Uyo zonal command convicted 52 traffickers while 11 cases are still in court.
Her words: “For the number of cases received ,the command received 1,035 cases with 1,035 suspects. It investigated over 568 cases. The command convicted about 52 traffickers in the zone with 11 cases still in court at different levels of prosecution.
“Then, from the beginning of March, the command had about 17 cases . We have about 10 of them under investigation, and three that are fully investigated. We have about three cases with our legal elite which they are going to file today and tomorrow.”
The zonal Commander attributed the outstanding result recorded by the command to collaboration with other sister agencies who have their presence at the borders, noting that most of the cases handled by NAPTIP were transferred from the sister agencies.
She, however, decried the high incidence of sales of babies in Akwa Ibom state and assured that effort has been intensified to apprehend those who perpetrate the heinous crime.
She also condemned the illegal activities of many Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and warned that the agency would not spare any of them found culpable.
However, she regretted that most couples connive with the TBAs in the illegal activities, stressing:”And to make matters worse, some families agree to this procedure but because of desperation to own a child accept any condition they are given by those homes.
“And those homes have always found a way to evade arrest but we have a Task Force in place to monitor the TBAs with evidences of agreement between them and couples.”
According to Ugwu most failed DNA tests have been product of cryptic and fake pregnancies because they also produce fake babies that are not from married couples.
She attributed the rising cases of sale of babies to rise in broken homes and single Parenthood, and advised that parents who are unable to cater for their children should ask for help or register their children for formal adoption.