According to Punch, a couple Mujidat Wahab and Ayobami Wahab, who relocated from Ibadan to Ondo state have been arrested for alleged child trafficking after one of the abducted boys escaped.
The Divisional Police Officer in charge of the case, Mr. Olu-Ojo Ogunmoyole, said they were arrested with five underage children, between the ages of eight and 10, in various locations in the community after complaints by residents of the town. He said, “the suspects always pretend to be blind and went about with the young boys to beg for alms on a daily basis.”
Another suspect, Folasade Iyiola, reportedly relocated from Ibadan to Ondo town recently to practise street begging where no one would recognise her. She explained that she abducted two children from different locations in Ibadan without the knowledge of their parents, revealing that she has been in the business for over three years.
She said: “I was introduced into street begging business by Mujidat Wahab. She asked me if I could get underaged children to use for the business, and I helped her to get two children. I later joined her in Ondo for the business.
One of the victims, Ibrahim, was a primary six pupil in Ibadan, who said he was kidnapped by Mujidat, from the midst of his friends on the day of the last Sallah festival.
Speaking in Yoruba language, Ibrahim said: “On that day, the woman held my hands, and I could not remember anything again. I later discovered that I was already in Ondo town. A few days later, we started the street begging business. The first town we visited was Akure and we made a lot of money. Later, I started dreaming about my mother; that was why I told Fatai (one of the victims) that I will run back to Ibadan.”
Ibrahim said after escaping from the child traffickers, they became hungry and begged a woman for food. The good Samarithan woman then took them to a police station. Punch reported that the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Femi Joseph said the suspects and the five children were still in police custody. “We have commenced investigation into the matter and the suspects would soon be charged to court,” he said .
Photo credit: Punch