Linus Oota, Lafia
A 42 year old farmer, Ayuba John, who is currently in detention in Nassarawa State, was arrested recently by officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps ( NSCDC) in the state while attempting to sell his 3 year-old son, Solomon Ayuba, for five million naira.
According to the suspect who said he was displaced by the herdsmen/farmers crisis last year, he has five wives and 23 children -13 boys and 10 girls. He said it had become increasingly difficult to feed and clothe them, hence he decided to sell one of his kids to cater for the others.
He said the decision to sell his son was his last resort after making several attempts to raise money from other sources to take care of his family was unsuccessful. He says he now regrets his actions as he had no justification for that.
“I can’t believe poverty will lead me to this. But the suffering was too much, I tried to return back to the farm but there is no encouragement. There is no money to buy fertilizer and the crops all turned to yellow due to lack of it.
“I had borrowed a lot of money and my debtors are not willing to loan me money again. It was at this point that I first thought of committing suicide. But on the second thought, I realised that that will only worsen the situation of the rest of the children,” he said.
The suspect who used to be a large producer of rice, maize, millet and yams as well as sorghum explained that out of 23 children, none is presently in school because of his financial crisis.
According to him, on a second reflection, he decided to dispose one of his children to solve his problems. “I felt normal when the idea cropped into my mind. But the consequence of my action only became clearer to me and I felt cold for the first time when I was picked up by the NSCDC.
“Fate appears to have played a wicked one on me at this difficult and trying time of my life. If you go to my house, you will understand why I took the decision. There is nothing but rainwater to drink, for us, death became better and more attractive.
“My wives resorted to begging to survive. Most times, we cooked leaves and eat and sleep. For quite some time now, my family members are living in poverty, my situation was bad. Poverty has systematically plundered and starved me and my family to the point that my wives threatened to dump me. I did that to save the lives of the other children and my wives, ” he cried while insisting that it was a very difficult decision, one he would not have taken if life had given him a small chance of survival.
The State Commandant of NSCDC, Mahmoud Fari ,who paraded the suspect, disclosed that the suspect took his son to sell for N5 million in a bid to improve his financial status. He disclosed further that the suspect had allegedly sold his 14 year old daughter, Hajara Ayuba for ritual purposes in Owerri, Imo State adding that the command was still investigating the case.
“Presently, we are working with our men over there to see the possibility of arresting the remaining criminals involved,” he said