Police have arrested a 55-year-old suspected child trafficker, Mrs. Nkechi Odinye, at Obosi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State. The police also recovered some children from Odinye.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), CSP Haruna Mohammed, said the woman had been evading arrest for over three years by changing locations until her arrest. He said: “The team equally recovered 16 other children of various age brackets, comprising 10 boys and six girls, reasonably suspected to have been stolen from different parts of the country under her custody.” Mohammed said that Odinye was arrested following confessions by suspects arrested earlier for their involvement in child trafficking.
The arrest of the suspects was based on a tip-off. It was a joint operation between police detectives attached to 3-3 Division and operatives attached to the Special Anti-Cult Section (SPACS). “The operatives stormed a hideout of the principal suspect, Odinye, and arrested her at Obosi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State,” Mohammed added. On October 22, 2019, following an intelligence report, police arrested three female suspects at Nkpor Market/Tarzan Junction in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, with three children suspected to have been stolen. “Investigations revealed that the children were stolen from Gombe State by Hauwa Usman on October 20, 2019, and brought to her accomplices in Anambra State. Following the public announcement by the command on October 20, 2019, parents of the two children from Gombe State came to Awka and identified their children.
“The children have since reunited with their parents and the suspects handed over to the Gombe State Police Command for discreet investigation and prosecution. “Furthermore, upon interrogation by the police in Gombe State, suspects voluntarily confessed that they usually steal children and bring them to their sponsor, Odinye, here in Anambra State. The woman buys each child at the rate of N200,000 and N400,000, depending on their age brackets and gender,” the PPRO said. Mohammed disclosed that both the suspects and the rescued children were handed over to the Gombe State Police Command where four of the children were identified and reunited with their biological parents after exhaustive investigation and forensic analysis, including DNA tests.
He also said that one of the children was handed over to parents in Asaba, Delta State. However, on January 18, 2021, the Gombe State Police Command returned 11 unclaimed children, comprising seven boys and four girls, to the Anambra State Command where the children were originally found.
They were then handed over to the Anambra State Ministry of Social Welfare, Women’s and Children’s Affairs, for safekeeping until their biological parents emerged. “Meanwhile, the command now has a total number of 18 unclaimed children rescued from suspected child traffickers. “In view of the foregoing, members of the public are kindly requested by the Commissioner of Police, John Abang, to disseminate this message through their mediums to enable the biological parents or close relatives identify these children whose photographs appear hereunder to claim them. Anyone with useful information about the found children should report at Area Command Onitsha, 3-3 Divisional Police Station, Nkwelle Ezunaka, or contact the PPRO, Anambra State Police Command, through GSM no 08060970639,” Mohammed said.