From ROSE EJEMBI, Makurdi
Benue State Police command yesterday paraded 12 suspected human traffickers just as it rescued 55 children from them along Otukpo – Enugu road. The traffickers, according to the state Commissioner of Police, Adams Audu, were in the business of cajoling unsuspecting parents to release their children and wards to them with the assurance that they would give them better future.
Audu while parading the suspects yesterday said his men apprehended seven of the suspects travelling in a convoy of three mini buses on Monday at a check point on Otukpo highway while the remaining five were arrested from different locations in the state.
He noted that the eagle eyed security operatives discovered during their search of the intercepted vehicles a total of 55 persons, including 17 children between the ages of five and 17 years.
The police commissioner who gave the names of the seven suspected traffickers as Adekunle Adebisi, Odey Adogu, Ochefu Adokole, Edwin Onah, John Odum, Ubeh
Mike and Phillip Adema Adegu said upon interrogation, they confessed to the crime.
Others who were later apprehended include, a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Yamuer Maashin, Messrs Tarchill Tyotyev and Tyodoo Yamuer all of Kastina-Ala locality and the chief trafficker, Chigozie Amechi who operates from Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos.
According to the police boss, the suspects said they got the children from Oju Local Government Area of Benue State and Yala Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State.
According to Audu, the suspects were transporting the children to Lagos for undisclosed mission.
He said the parents of the victims were mostly unaware that they are to be given out to strangers who would subject them to child labour, prostitution and hawking among others.
Amechi is said to be making above N400, 000 monthly from innocent beggars he sent to the streets of Lagos while Tyotyev and Yamuer are the liaison of syndicate who collude with parents to send their little children for begging and prostitution in urban areas.
Answering questions from newsmen, an elderly suspect, Edwin Onah denied doing the illicit business, but admitted giving out his daughter, Helen who was among the rescued children to one Dominic for onward transfer to Lagos to live with her elder sister.
Meanwhile, the police commissioner who stated that he had ordered full scale investigation into the matter advised members of the public to avail the command of any ungodly and inhuman practises so that the perpetrators can be brought to face the full wrath of the law.