Police in Ebonyi State say they have rescued over 32 teenagers (male and female), from traffickers who allegedly dumped them in a two-room apartment located at Okposi Umuaghara, Ezza North Local Government Area of the state.
The Commissioner of Police, CP. Aliyu Garba, who made this known on Friday while parading three suspected traffickers, said the victims were between the ages of 16 to 17 years.
At the B Division of the Nigeria Police Force which is located within the Kpiri-Kpiri area of Abakaliki, CP Garba who was represented by the state police spokesperson, DSP Loveth Odah, explained that the traffickers pick the children from different parts of the country and engage them in forced labour, leaving others exploited sexually.
DSP Odah said the young girls and boys were rescued following a case of a missing minor that was reported to the police by one Mrs Nwankwo Ijioma who hails from Uterufie village in Ebonyi LGA, who said her daughter, one Miss Nwankwo Childera, aged 14, who left their house in August 2021 had not been seen since.
She further explained that “in the course of investigations, a company’s advertisement sheet captioned ‘NEO life’ containing a certain phone number was found in the missing girl’s room. The owner of the phone, who was later identified as Christian Nwankwo (19 yrs old), was trailed and arrested.”
The commissioner’s representative also asserted that the suspects; One Nwagboduhu Ekene (20 years old), and Nwaoko Godwin (24 years old) and one other was arrested, while the 32 trafficked under-aged children were rescued at the traffickers’ den within Okposi Umuaghara.
According to DSP Odah, the rescued children hail from Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Benue, Abia and Rivers states.
There was an even split in the number of children, 16 females and 16 males.
The police say investigations are still ongoing and the suspected traffickers will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.