from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – POLICE have smashed a child trafficking syndicate and rescued 16 minors during a crackdown in southeastern Nigeria.
A 55-year-old woman alleged to be the ringleader has been arrested in the Anambra State, where ten boys and six girls suspected to have been stolen from different parts of the country, were found under her custody.
Police named the suspect as Nkechi Odinye. The children were reportedly stolen in the southeastern Gombe State.
It is alleged Odinya buys each child at the rate of between N200 000 to N400 000 (over US$526 or R7 889), depending on their age bracket and gender.
The suspect reportedly evaded arrest for over three years by changing locations until her arrest.
Five of the children have been identified and reunited with their biological parents after investigation and forensic analysis, including DNA tests.
However, authorities are looking after eleven unclaimed children comprising seven boys and four girls.
Meanwhile, Anambra State Police Command now has a total number of 18 unclaimed children rescued from suspected child traffickers.
John Abang, the state Commissioner of Police, has urged parents or close relatives to identify children whose photographs the law enforcers have made public.
– CAJ News