SARS rescued five children suspected to have been sold by members of the group who operate within Delta, Anambra, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom and Rivers state.
The suspects said:
“We sold babies between 1-5 years of age to those who have been married for several years without children. Some of us are nurses and supportive members of staff of health institutions.We do not know how the police got wind of our illicit businesses while we were operating in Asaba and Onitsha. In most cases, a child costs between N250,000 to N500,000 while grown-up ones are sold for N1m.”
Investigation revealed that the suspects took the SARS operatives to Akwa-Ibom State where two children were rescued and two other persons, suspected to be members of their gang, were also arrested.
One of the suspects, Patience Okon said,
“Since their mothers cannot take care of their babies because of lack of money, we normally arrange for wealthy parents who have no children but in need of children, to come and buy from us and take them away. We issue receipts of payment to them, we don’t steal the children as police are alleging but the mothers of these children in most cases opt for their children to be sold. Some of them don’t even know the men who impregnate them while some would be hiding from their parents. So we actually help them to solve their problems”.
“We were just helping out some persons who are in need. We are not human traffickers even though we make money from it. The mothers of the babies wanted to throw them away so we came to assist these young girls so that they would not throw away the babies or kill them.”
The Commissioner of Police in Delta State, Alkali Baba Usman said that when they heard about the inter-state human and child trafficking syndicate cell in Asaba, SARS operatives proactively arrested the gang leader of the group, saying that the suspect and her husband allegedly confessed to the crime and led the officers to their different hideouts in Anambra, Akwa-Ibom and Cross Rivers state.