The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says it has reunited five children allegedly abducted at different times by a suspected trafficker, with their parents.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mrs Stella Nezan, Head, Press and Public Relations Unit of the agency, in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to the statement, the 32-year-old suspect allegedly abducted and sold the children, ages between four to seven, to unsuspecting women in different parts of the country under the guise of adoption.
The statement quoted the agency’s Director-General (DG), Mrs Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, while handing over the children, as calling on parents to ensure adequate protection of their children.
According to Sulaiman-Ibrahim, parents must guard their children to avoid incidences of kidnapping, abduction, trafficking and other crimes against humanity.
She cautioned the parents on the need to watch their children closely and to avoid exposing them to the risk of being easily accessible to traffickers and other criminal minds.
Recounting how the children were rescued, the D-G explained that operatives of the agency had mounted surveillance on the suspect, a native of Nkonni Enagi, Edati, Niger state, for a while now.
The surveillance, she said, followed an intelligence that the suspect, a graduate of Economics from the University of Maiduguri, kidnaps children from Niger state and sells them to families across the country.
According to the DG, the suspect who claimed to be a staff in charge child adoption matters in the Niger State Ministry of Social Development, had been into the illicit business since 2016.
Sulaiman-Ibrahim said that the suspect usually issue would-be parents with adoption papers purportedly from the Niger State.
She said the suspect, however, ran out of luck when a sting operation by the agency led to catching him red-handed while helping some ‘clients’ fill their adoption application forms and other papers.
The suspect, she said, confessed to have kidnapped and sold six children under the guise of adoption, claiming all his victims were from Niger state.
Sulaiman-Ibrahim stated that the suspect also confessed to have forged some adoption documents he issued to the people he sold the kidnapped children to.
According to her, the suspect further confessed that he collected the sum of N100,000 for each of the children.
She, however, said that the suspect had been arraigned in court in accordance with the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act (TIPPEA), 2015.
While promising a diligent prosecution of the suspect, the D-G called on the general public to continue to assist the agency with useful information that could lead to the arrest of child traffickers in the country.
She also appealed to couples and other members of the public, challenged and in need of children, to endeavour to follow the due process of adoption to avoid any ensuing problem.
According to the statement, all the parents, promised to take more adequate care of their children, thanked the Federal Government and the management of NAPTIP for rescuing their wards.