Eight persons have been arraigned at a Magistrate Court in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, for their alleged involvement in the abduction and sale of a three-month-old baby boy for the sum of N910.000.
This is just as the National Agency for the Prohibition against Trafficking in Persons in collaboration with the police rescued the victim from a child trafficking syndicate based in Abuja.
Addressing newsmen in Abakaliki on Wednesday, the State NAPTIP Desk Officer, Ministry of Women Affairs/Social Development, Mrs. Florence Onwa, said that on December 2, 2017, a case of child trafficking occurred at Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state involving a 17-year-old mother, Miracle Omogo and her three-month-old baby named Chiagbowena Omogo.
According to the NAPTIP Officer, Miracle, who had her baby out of wedlock, was lured to Onitsha, Anambra State, by one Mrs. Chinyere Agu, a native of Ohaukwu community under the guise of providing comfort to the nursing mother and her little baby.
“While they were in the Onitsha residence of Agu, she drugged her victim. By the time the young mother woke up hours later,her baby had disappeared,” Onwa said.
She narrated that when the nursing mother confronted her host on the whereabouts of her baby, the woman told that while she slept, she leaned heavily on her baby and mistakenly killed the child, and he had been buried.
Onwa said, “The mother suspected foul play and demanded to see the son’s grave to authenticate what her mistress told her.
“She told her mistress to come down to their village and report the entire incident. She obliged and contacted her uncle, one Mr. Enyi Cyprien, who reported the matter to the Ebonyi State Police Headquarters in Abakaliki.
“The police swung into action and arrested Agu alongside an accomplice, one Mr. Philip Umeh, who bought the baby from her. NAPTIP Officials in conjunction with the police commenced an investigation during which they went to Kogi State and later Abuja and eventually rescued the baby.
“The buyer, Mr. Philip Agu and six other accomplices were arrested in Onitsha by the police, the other suspect was arrested in Nnewi town in Anambra State.
“The baby was later sold to a child trafficking syndicate in Kogi State and later Abuja at the sum of N910.000, where the mistress, Mrs Chinyere Agu, received her own share of N450.000,” Onwa stated.
Narrating her ordeal, the mother of the baby, Ms Miracle Omogo, commended both officials of NAPTIP and the police for the successful rescue of her baby, narrating that her mistress sold her baby to one Mr. Philip Umeh, who hails from Awgu in Enugu State.
“My baby was in captivity for three weeks; it was in December ending that my baby was handed over to me. The actual amount they collected was N910.000; my mistress received N450,000 as her own share, “ she disclosed.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Ebonyi State Police Public Relations Officer, Lovet Odah, were not successful as she was involved in a live radio programme at the time of filling this report.
Meanwhile, when the matter came up at Abakaliki Magistrate Court on Wednesday, it was adjourned indefinitely.