Personnel of Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), Abia State with headquarters at World Bank Housing Estate, Osisioma Local Government Area of the state has reportedly arrested six members of a child trafficking syndicate.
Some of the suspects, a couple; Mr. Ifeanyi and Mrs. Nnenna Ugorji, one Mrs. Adaeze Nwankwo, Onuoha Kingsley among others were reportedly arrested by operatives of Abia VGN on a tip off at Abayi in Osisioma Council Area of the state.
The suspects and other members of the syndicate who were still at large until the time of filing the report, according to sources were reportedly responsible for the abduction and sudden disappearance of children in Aba and its environs.
Reliably source gathered that the group also works collaboratively with its members scattered in other southeast and south-south states who illegally sell off the stolen children to potential buyers.
Unconfirmed reports have it that the syndicate targets children between three months to 3years to people who will illegally adopt them or use them for money ritual at a sum between N150, 000 to N300, 000 depending on the bargaining power of the would be buyer.
Diamond Agbarata, an Assistant Commander and Head of Intelligence and Investigation of VGN in the state while narrating how the suspects were arrested said that it was through intelligence gathering by its personnel.
Agbarata who disclosed that they were able to rescue a four year-old boy who was kidnapped on his way from church on Sunday with his brother in Mbano, Imo State.
Agbarata stated that among the suspects were a couple from Mbano in Imo State who had on selling their baby boy got hooked in the business apparently because of the proceeds that they made and have since become agents in the business. This is even as fate of the baby the trafficking mother was carrying would have been the same with that of the brother.
It was gathered that that the couple in order to spread their tentacles was recruiting more people into the business from other parts of the southeast with special interest in Imo State.
In the words of Agbarata “By 9PM Monday my officers on duty within the Abayi area got information that people suspected to be child traffickers are within the neighbourhood. My men accosted them. When they were questioned, they said that they are going to lodge in a hotel. Looking at them, they were not supposed to have the money to pay for hotel. Not convinced by their answer, the personnel brought them to our office and on interrogation, they made confessional statements that they are child trafficking syndicate.
They also disclosed one of the buyers of the children they kidnapped as one Ifeanyi who hails from Mbano, Imo state, a husband to one of the child trafficker; Nnenna, his wife. He is from Umuihe, Umuozulim, Isiala Mbano in Imo state while his wife, Nnenna Ugorji was from Ihite-Obi Ahiazu Mbaise in the same Imo State.
“They had a male issue when they were introduced into the business of which they sold to buyer. The wife is pregnant for the second time. Seeing that the business is lucrative, they could not wait for the second baby to be delivered.
“Ifeanyi’s father came here and confessed that his son is a notorious criminal and that he stole his brother’s child and sold.
“Another relative of his confirmed that Ifeanyi was living with him in Lagos, he stole his money and when the police came to arrest him, he jumped from two storey building and has not been seen since two years. Ifeanyi confessed of abducting 4 children they kept somewhere in Aba and my men have gone to recover them.
“They have another woman that buys the children that stays at Obigbo in River state. They have gone to arrest the woman. Another buyer, a woman is on our radar until recently she was arrested somewhere in Abayi and brought here.
“She confessed of being a member of the syndicate. She buys and sells to potential buyers.”
He said that they would be handing over the suspects to Police for continued investigation and possible prosecution of the suspects in court.
“VGN doesn’t have the power to prosecute. We do primary investigation to find some facts so that no one tampers with our evidence. After this, we shall take all of them to the police for further investigation and possible prosecution, because when they go to court, they may call us to come and give evidence because, we arrested the suspects first. We urge people to pin down their ears on the ground and provide security agencies with necessary information about crime and nefarious activities going on in their neighbourhood.
One of the suspects, Kingsley Onuoha from Mbano, Imo state confessed of abducting a small boy from Obollo, his maternal home which he brought to Aba.
Onuoha said he was convinced by his friends who have called and persuaded him over time.
He said that he took the child on Sunday while the child was returning from the church. He sent the other one on errand and as that one left, he took the other one to Aba.
Asked how much that he was paid for bringing the child, He said that he was told on phone that they sell one for 200,000 naira but said that when he brought the child, they told him that the child has overgrown the age of the children they do sell.
According to him, they told him not to worry, that he would get his money as soon as they concluded arrangement with the would be buyer who turned out to be Mrs. Adaeze Nwankwo that based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.