The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, has uncovered a child trafficking syndicate in Makurdi and rescued five children as well as arrested an 80-year-old woman and seven others.
Nigeriacrime.com learned that the successful operation followed a tip-off and distress call by a mother whose children were stolen and sold off to traffickers in December.
The Zonal Commander, NAPTIP Makurdi Zonal Command, Mrs. Gloria said operatives of the Agency conducted meticulous surveillance and rescue operations across Makurdi metropolis between January 17 and 22, 2024 leading to the breakthrough.
According to her, “the investigation unveiled a modus operandi wherein the syndicate targeted vulnerable homes, including Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camps, posing as helpers for education sponsorship.
“They exploited the trust of unsuspecting families and acquired their children and subsequently sold them for sums ranging from N350,000 to ₦900,000 per child, disguising the transactions as adoptions.
“Among the arrested suspects are an 80-year-old woman, Innocent Josephine, and a 56-year-old woman, Ude Rosaline, both identified as key players in the criminal network.
“Additional members include Mr. Samuel Takura (50), Mr. Williams Minde (35), Mrs. Celina Obiasogu (52), Mrs. Virginia Okonkwo (50), Mrs. Anthonia Onura (60), and Mrs. Ede Sunday Ngozi (52). Ongoing efforts are in place to apprehend Mama Nnamdi, who remains at large.”
Mrs. Bai said all the rescued victims had been reunited with their families, “while legal proceedings against the suspects are underway.”
The Command urged the public to exercise caution “when approached by individuals offering assistance with child education given the prevalence of the buying and selling of children under the guise of adoption.”
She urged those seeking to adopt children in the state to contact the State Ministry of Women Affairs for proper guidance to avoid falling into the hands of criminal elements.
She advised members of the public to report suspicious cases to NAPTIP “through the shortcode 627, hotline 07030000203, or via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org.”