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Police bust child trafficking syndicate, rescue seven

Edgal on a recent child rescue mission

The Lagos State police command has uncovered a suspected home of a child trafficking syndicate at the Ejigbo area of Lagos.

Seven children, whose ages were between two and 10 years, were rescued while the suspected leader of the gang, one Comfort from Akwa Ibom State was arrested.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal, who led the rescue operation, handed the children over to the child’s protection unit of the command and ordered that the unit should liaise with the appropriate ministry to perfect necessary procedure and hand the children over to the appropriate government-approved orphanage.

The police boss said: “This is a one-room apartment and not an orphanage or a day-care centre. There is more to this than meet the eyes. It is ridiculous that a young lady like Comfort can be keeping children of these ages in an uncomfortable accommodation like this. We cannot fold our hands and watch children being abused. As you can see, the children are not well taken care of. They have their rights. We are concerned about their welfare.

“We have asked her questions on how she came about the children and she could not give reasonable answers. We also asked the children and they could not say their parents names. A ten-year-old child could not say his parents name. One of them said her mother sells things at Mile 12 market. I have ordered full-scale investigation to unravel how the children came to the suspects’ custody, but I am convinced that investigation would reveal many things.

“We want to know the parents of the children, how and when they arrived this house and we want to know what happens to them after certain age. We want to know whether they are being trafficked or shared to people or what purpose they are used for.

“I want to thank concerned neighbours and well-meaning Nigerians who are volunteering information. It shows you have confidence in the police. People are giving out information to the police and we take action immediately. Our response is something else because life is precious. I personally lead rescue operations because I don’t want stories.”

The suspect, Comfort, told newsmen that the children are her blood relatives. “I am taking care of them because their mothers are not always around. Their mothers give me money to take care of them. I work with a well-known company as a contract staff, but my work gives me enough chance to take care of the children. I know that the place is not conducive, but we are planning to move to a two-room apartment. I repeat, the children are my blood relatives. I don’t fear anything. I am ready to prove my innocence.”

It would be recalled that the Commissioner of Police last week rescued an 11-year-old child locked up in a poorly ventilated apartment without food by her benefactor at their home at No. 12 Baderin Street, Mafoluku, Oshodi.

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