By Hajara Leman
Gombe, Sept 7, 2020 Gombe State Police Command, on Monday paraded three women and one man for alleged complicity in the abduction and sale of 12 children.
Briefing newsmen in Gombe, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Maikudi Shehu, said the arrest of the suspects was in collaboration with the Anambra State Police Command.
Newsmen, reports that the three female suspects, Hauwa Usman, 37, from Gombe, Nkechi Odulenye, 54, and Faith Okpi, 38, both indigenes of Anambra, and Bala Shaukali, 38, from Taraba, the only male suspect, have been on the run since 2017.
The male suspect, Shaukali, was alleged to have sold two of his children to one of the female suspects, Odulenye.
Shehu said the 12 children were stolen from different locations across the country.
He said some of the children were sold in Asaba, based on information the police got from the suspects.
The commissioner said though one of the victims had recognised the father, who came to the command headquarters to check for his missing child, it was not however, certain that all 12 children recovered were from Gombe.
Speaking to newsmen, Shaukali denied selling his children, but admitted to giving them out because he wanted them to be properly trained and educated.
One of the female suspects, Usman, however, admitted that she had been abducting children, selling males ones at N300,000, while the females were sold for N250,000.
Odunleye, one of the suspects, who claimed to have a registered orphanage home in Anambra, admitted that she was buying the children, but was doing so and selling to foster parents, who would take good care of them.
She said she was training them at her orphanage, which was registered with Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs.
According to the suspect, she has already sold seven out of the 12 children she bought at the cost of N750,000 each to foster parents.
Malam Ibrahim Ardo, Secretary of the amalgamation of parents of abducted children in Gombe State since 2019, said the association had reported the disappearance of no fewer than 20 children to the Police to help recover the children.
Ardo, however, confirmed seeing one of the suspects, Usman, at his house on the day his daughter went missing.
Mr. Dauda Batavia, Gombe State Commissioner for Internal Security and Ethical Orientation, who was at the briefing, said the government had played a critical role in rescue of the victims and arrests of suspects by providing logistics.
Batavia, however, cautioned members of the public against patronising illegal parks, and also advised parents against sending little children on unnecessary errands, especially at night.
The State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Naomi Awak, on her part, called on parents to always be vigilant and know their children’s whereabouts.