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Police Uncover Suspected Trafficking Camp In Lagos, Rescue Six Children

Afeez Hanafi

No fewer than six children between the ages of three and 10 have been rescued from a suspected human trafficking transit camp in the Ejigbo area of Lagos State .

The owner of the camp , 25 – year- old Comfort Anwana , was arrested on Tuesday during a raid carried out by operatives of the state police command and the Ministry of Youths and Social Services .

Her siblings , Gift , 28 ; and 23 – year – old Blessing , who stayed with her , were also apprehended. They all hail from the Oron Local Government Area , Akwa Ibom State .

PUNCH Metro learnt that the team stormed the one- room apartment camp following a report from some residents of the area that Anwana illegally took custody of the children .

The state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi , who led the operation , noted that the camp was not an orphanage .

He said how Anwana came about the children was shrouded in mystery , adding that the command would carry out an investigation to unravel the actual activities of the centre .

Imohimi said , “ We are concerned about the children ’ s welfare . First of all , we must ascertain how they got into Comfort ’ s ( Anwana ’ s ) custody. We must ascertain what happened to them while here. Were they abused, sold into slavery or sold as domestic helps ? This is not an orphanage or a day care centre. We want to know where she got the children from because we are concerned generally about child abuse . ”

The CP , who said the arrest was the result of community policing in Lagos State , directed policemen at the Gender Unit of the command to work with officials of the Ministry of Youths and Social Development to ensure that the children were taken to a home pending the outcome of the investigation .

However , Anwana , said the children were her nephews and nieces , adding that their fathers were dead .

She said she helped their mothers to look after them , adding that the parents visited them occasionally .

She said , “ Two of the children are my immediate elder sister ’ s children , three are my eldest sister ’ s children whose father was a policeman , while one of them is my child .

“ My eldest sister ’ s place of work is far , so , she leaves them in my care and checks on them occasionally .

“ I work in a company as a contract staff member and run shifts . I buy foodstuffs in bulk for the children with my salary . I rented the apartment . I wanted to move with them to a two – bedroomed apartment soon . Their fathers are dead , but they still have mothers . They are all schooling here. ”

A police officer said when the children were interviewed , they could not mention their surnames , adding that some of them could not mention their mothers ’ names .

“ The eldest of them , Lawrence, 10 , didn’ t know his father ’ s name. He said his mother took him to the camp and that she comes to check on him once in a while. He could not say what his mother does for a living .

“ Another child , Michael , nine, said his mother was a food vendor at Mile 12 , and sometimes visited him . Eight – year- old Fabian could not mention his parents ’ names , while Felicia, 7 , who said she had been in the apartment for long, stated that she did not know where her mother lives .

“ One of the children , a three – year- old boy , sustained an injury , while another girl of the same age is ill . But Anwana said the ailing girl had been treated by an auxiliary nurse . The CP , Imohimi , directed the commander of Area ‘ D ’ Command , Mushin , ACP Akinbayo Olasoji , to carry out an investigation into the prime suspect ’ s claims .”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer , SP Chike Oti , confirmed to our correspondent that the children did not know their fathers’ names , adding that investigations were ongoing .

Source:- Punchng


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