The Controller of the command, Innocent Akatu, said the accused persons were apprehended in various locations in Ibadan, adding that they would be handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons for legal actions.
Our correspondent, who was at the command when the culprits and their victims were handed over to NAPTIP officials from Lagos, observed that the children were not well fed and clothed. One of the children, who identified herself as Glory, said that she had been in Nigeria for three years without being paid. She could not recognise places where she had worked or whom she had worked for. She also said her mother was told by someone that she was coming to Nigeria to work and earn good money.
Akatu said, “Human trafficking is a serious crime that we are trying to end. We have very young children being taken away from their parents under the pretext that the traffickers would get jobs for them or give them a better standard of living. Many of them are brought into Nigeria from Benin Republic, Togo and other neighbouring countries. They are sold into slavery by those who brought them into the country.”
He made reference to a boy of nine years old, who was brought to Ibadan from Benue by his brother and sold into slavery, saying, “He does not know where he is. These children do not receive the wages paid for them. The money goes to the people who brought them. So it’s pure slavery. In the past, when we arrested children like these, we reconciled them with their parents. Even the foreigners would be taken to their countries. But we now felt that the method did not help to check the problem. That is why we are handing them over to NAPTIP for appropriate legal action,” Akatu said.
The Oyo State Command of the Nigerian Immigration Service, on Saturday paraded one pastor Olufemi Timothy, and four others who were accused of child trafficking in Ibadan. The command also paraded 12 other boys and four girls for allegedly being used by the accused persons in a slavery ring. News 360 reports: