I’m not a criminal, Lagos trader arrested for child trafficking says
I’m not a criminal, Lagos trader arrested for child trafficking says
I’m not a criminal, Lagos trader arrested for child trafficking says
Men of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Nigeria Police Force in Alagbon, Lagos, have arrested five women for child trafficking.

The police said the suspects – Abike Shobowale, 72; Abiola Adeniyi, 57; Abike Amusan, 50, Sarat Quadri, 42; and Zainab Hamzat – were arrested for taking custody of children aged between six and 15 in violation of formal procedures.

Fourteen children were also recovered from the suspects, who are said to be traders at Oke-Arin Market, Lagos Island.

While parading the suspects on Thursday, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of FCIID, Alagbon Annex, Muritala Mani, said operatives of Anti-Human Trafficking Section of the formation swung into action following an intelligence report.

He said the rescued children comprised Nigerians and nationals of Benin Republic, adding that efforts were ongoing to reunite them with their parents.

Mani, who lamented that abduction and human trafficking had become regular crimes in present day Nigeria, stated that IGP Mohammed Adamu had directed officers to arrest the situation.

He said, “It is in light of this, that operatives of the Anti-Human Trafficking Section of FCIID, Alagbon Annex, were on May 22, 2019 directed to Oke-Arin Market where the suspects were arrested.

“We have launched a massive investigation geared towards arresting anyone connected with this criminal syndicate. We will not rest on our oars as we strive to make our environment crime-free.”

However, there was a mild drama on the premises of the police formation as two of the women, Adeniyi and Shobowale, broke down in tears when they were about to be paraded.

They tried to avoid having their faces captured, protesting that they had not committed any offence.

One of them, Adeniyi, from whom two children aged nine and 10 were rescued, told City Round that one Baba Sunday brought the children to her in February 2019 from Cotonou.

The woman, who sells wine at Oke-Arin Market, said she had planned to enrol the two boys at a primary school, insisting that she was not a criminal.

She said, “In February, there was a man called Baba Sunday from Cotonou. I have known him for five years. He comes to buy goods in Lagos. He brought these kids to me. He claimed they are his biological children and he wanted them to learn a trade or go to school. He did not collect one naira from me.

 “I took them to a school in Oke-Arin, but the school did not admit them because they could not speak English or Yoruba. I started teaching them and they now understand simple English. I went to school so I know my rights.

“On Tuesday, I was at my shop when two policemen came and arrested me. They said there was a petition against me. I followed them. They locked us up in a cell. My children were here to take my bail, but they (police) refused. It was on Wednesday they released us on bail and told us to come back, only to get here and see people filming us. This is unfair. I am not a criminal.”

Asked whether the children have valid travel documents and if she did a formal documentation before taking them in, Adeniyi said she was not aware of those procedures until her arrest.

She added, “The police told us that we should have involved a lawyer and entered into an agreement. I begged them that they should forgive us, although ignorance is not an excuse. I didn’t know before now that what I did is child trafficking. They didn’t tell us we will face the press.”

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