A mother of three, Mrs. Esther Agwu-Okachi, who escaped prostitution and returned home to discover that a member of a trafficking syndicate has allegedly sold her two children, has cried out for help.
Esther, a widow, became frantic over the alleged sale of her two children and ran to a human rights group, Campaign for Democracy (CD), in Enugu for assistance in her quest for justice.
According to Esther, it was one of her kinsmen, Ifeanyi Ezitiri, in Ebonyi State, who approached and convinced her to go to Orlu, to meet the suspect, Okezie Aguabata.
Ezitiri promised her that Aguabata would employ her in his restaurant business.
“Ifeanyi gave me the phone number of Aguabata. The man said that I should ensure I come with my three children, so that he would enroll them in school at Orlu.
Aguabata sent me N1,500 as transport fare, with which I used to travel to Orlu with my children. When I got there, he deceived and told me to go to Lagos, to meet a childless couple. My three children were stolen, but one of them escaped from the traffickers.”
It was learnt that immediately the group got involved in Esther’s case, they approached Orlu Area Command of the police in Imo State. They were given a team of policemen.
One of the suspects, believed to be involved in the sale of the children, Aguabata, was arrested.
“My two children have not been found. The police at Orlu initially demanded money before they could go and arrest Aguabata. It was the second day, after I reported the case that the police eventually went to arrest the man. They realised I didn’t have money.”
The CD chairman in the South-East zone, Comrade Dede Uzor, who said he was not too happy with the way police were handling the matter, said:
“The widow, on getting to Lagos, was received by a ‘Madam’ who told her that the people who sent her ought to have told her the truth.
The truth was that they sent her to Lagos for prostitution and possible transfer to Ghana or other African countries, where she would be forced to sell any of her organs.
“The Madam that received the widow took her to a brothel, to resume work, but the widow protested. She started crying, this made the Madam to send her away the next day without money.
The Madam didn’t even care that Esther didn’t know her way back to Orlu. The suspect, Aguabata, runs an eatery and beer parlour business.
When the widow was sent to Lagos, she was told that her three children, namely; Chinedu (9), Brenda (6) and Victor (4) would be handed over to Aguabata’s mother.
His mother was expected to take care of the three children until they resumed school at Orlu.
On her return two days later, she discovered that two of her children, Brenda and Victor, had been sold. The eldest son, Chinedu, escaped from them and was wandering about when a Good Samaritan rescued him.
The Good Samaritan called Esther, who subsequently reported the matter to police before inviting Campaign for Democracy.”
Yesterday, Uzor called on the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, to order the Orlu Area Office of Imo State Police Command, to handover the case file to National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other Related Matters (NAPTIP).
The group also alleged that the Area Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Edet, instead of arresting all mentioned suspects and going after those that sold the children in order to rescue them, directed Aguabata’s wife to go and bring back one of the children who they admitted to have sold.
Uzor said that the matter had already been reported to NAPTIP.
“The suspect and others at large tricked Esther and stole her children. They then sent her away to Lagos, to live with a couple who had no child.”
Reacting on the incident, Edet said the matter had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID). He said that he considered any form of child adoption that didn’t follow due process, child stealing.
Newtelegraphonline.com reports that their attempt to get the reaction of the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Andrew Enwerem, was unsuccessful as he didn’t take calls.