The Rivers State Police Command has said its operatives smashed a child trafficking syndicate and arrested four suspects in Igwuruta and Omagwa, Obio/Akpor and Ikwerre local government areas of the state.
Also the police said ten girls, most of whom are pregnant, including teenagers found in two of the locations raided were rescued.
The Command’s Spokesperson, Grace Iringe-Koko disclosed this in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Tuesday and made available to newsmen.
Iringe-Koko said the feat followed a tip off which the Command immediately acted upon and promptly raided the two locations housing the victims.
The statement read, “On Saturday January 7, 2023, at about 1645hrs acting on credible intelligence available to the Rivers State Police Command, C4I Intelligence Unit Operatives, raided two houses at Igwuruta and Omagwa communities respectively, where victims of child trafficking were being kept.
“In the operation, the suspects were arrested by the police operatives; Favour Bright, 30, from Umudioga Community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, and Peace Alikoi , 40, from Igwuruta Community in Ikwere Local Government Area, who is the leader of the trafficking syndicate.”
“Two males, Noble Uzuchi, 17 and Chigozie Ogbonna, 29, allegedly hired by the syndicate to be having marathon sex with the girls and impregnating them were also arrested.
The statement further reads, “The victims rescued in the operation are ten, most of them pregnant. They include; Gift Saviour ‘F’ 19 yrs from Umudioga Community in Ikwere Local Government Area, Favour Charles ‘F’ 23yrs from Abale Community in Obingwa LGA of Abia State.
“Joy Monday ‘F’ 21, from Bomu Community, Gokana Local Government Area, Rivers State, Chiagoro Nice ‘F’ 19 yrs from Ndas Community, Etche Local Government Area, Blessing Francis ‘F’ 28yrs from Ngwa Community, Ikot-Ekpene Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Joy Emmanuel ‘F’ 29yrs from Ikot Obiom Community in Nsit Ibiom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Precious Kalu ‘F’ 25 yrs from Umudioga Emohua Local Government Area, Rivers State.
“Others are: Cynthia Ekeh ‘F’ 27yrs from Okpuala Community, Ngor Okpuala Local Government Area, Imo State, and Queen Amos ‘F’ 28yrs from Owase Community in Kwande Local Government Area, Benue State.
“Chika Nwosa ‘F’ 15yrs from Umudioga Emohua Local Government Area, Chigozie Ogbonna ‘M’ 29yrs from Abale Community, Obingwa Local Government Area, Abia State and Noble Uzochi ‘M’ 17yrs from Omuobasa Community in Osisioma Local Government Area, Abia State.”
Iringe-Koko, a Superintendent of Police, said investigations so far revealed that when the victims are delivered off their babies, the syndicate leader would keep the babies and pay the victim a sum of N500,000.
The state police image maker further disclosed that some of the babies previously delivered had been sold out.
She said, “All the victims confessed that they have been lured to the illicit sales of children because of the need to meet some financial challenges.
“A Honda Pilot Jeep with registration number, Lagos FST 607 AX, white was recovered from the syndicate leader.
“The case has been transferred to the State Criminal and Investigation Department and efforts are being intensified to track and arrest the buyers of the children already sold out.
“The command wishes to reaffirm its commitment to reducing crime and criminality in all its forms to a bare minimum.
“While painstaking effort is being deployed to ensure the above, members of the public are urged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police for prompt action.”