January 11, 2024

Child trafficking: Police rescue three babies, arrest 16 suspects in Gombe

The Kogi State Police Command has admitted complacency in the killing of Barrister Elias Ugwu last week Friday, admitting that the Nsukka-based lawyer was however killed in error.

The Police Command in Gombe State said it had rescued three babies and arrested 16 suspects in a case of alleged child trafficking and criminal conspiracy.

ASP Mahid Abubakar, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the command, said this while briefing journalists on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Hayatu Usman, in Gombe on Wednesday.

Abubakar said the case was recorded over the weekend following an intelligence report from the Barunde community of Gombe State.

He said three babies were rescued from the suspects within the state, while two others were trafficked out of the state.

According to him, one of the trafficked babies is now in Lagos, while the other has been traced to Anambra.

He stated that efforts were on to recover the other two babies and return them to the state.

Abubakar stated that during the investigation, it was discovered that one of the babies was alleged to have been sold for N400,000.

He said the child was sold to a buyer within the state in collaboration with a social welfare worker in the state.

He said the suspects operated what could be likened to a “baby factory,” where their victims were kept in a location and their babies were sold after birth.

According to the police spokesperson, the command received an intelligence report on one of the parents who sold her child to the alleged traffickers.

“This is a criminal conspiracy and child trafficking case where one Khadija Manzo and 15 others were arrested following an intelligence report received from the Barunde community over the weekend.

“Sometime last year, one Khadija Manzo and 15 others were involved in selling babies to people in need.

“On receiving the report, detectives attached to Lowcost Division carried out an investigation that led to the arrest of Manzo and other suspects,” he said.

Abubakar said the investigation further revealed that Manzo had allegedly sold two babies to one Ukamaka Ugwu on different occasions.

He said other suspects were nabbed for their involvement in the crime.

Explaining further, Abubakar said: “Investigation shows that the said Manzo reportedly sold a child for N400,000 to one Tina Raphael.

“And she gave N200,000 to one Haruna Abubakar, who works with Social Welfare, Gombe, under the guise of making a relevant certificate for the proper handing over of the child.

“Yahaya Suleiman received the N200,000 from Manzo to give to Haruna Abubakar, and he delivered the money.

“Ukamaka Ugwu bought two children, and one is currently in Lagos and the other in Anambra, but the police is working to ensure the safe return of the babies.”

Abubakar said a case of rape was also uncovered during the investigation, which was covered up by the families of the victims.

He said rape victims delivered the babies, and Manzo conspired with them to pay their medical bills to sell the babies afterwards.

Abubakar said all the suspects in the case would soon be charged to court. (NAN)