From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Makurdi Zonal Command of the National Agency for Trafficking in Person, (NAPTIP), has arrested two suspects in connection with sale of babies.
The Zonal Commander, Mrs Gloria Bai who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen at her office recently said the culprits will be charged to court as soon as the courts resume in the state.
Bai who noted that the Command received seven cases of trafficking involving 13 children out of which only three had been rescued while their suspected traffickers have also been arrested and charged to court.
“Also, we have two young boys who were taken from Gboko and sold out in Lagos. The syndicate has been arrested and the case is in court, and the boys were rescued with the help of the Nigerian police.
The Zonal Commander expressed worry over cases involving young girls who have had pregnancies out of wedlock and some of them did not know who were responsible for their pregnancies.
“Traffickers have started using that opportunity, preying on the vulnerability of these young girls because they are vulnerable, some are even driven from home after the pregnancy.
“The traffickers are now using that avenue to deceive these young girls, take them somewhere, make them have the babies and then sell the babies. We have received so many cases.
“Right now we have arrested two suspects who are members of the syndicate involved in luring young girls who are pregnant and deceiving them to have the babies and after that they sell the babies.
“We know that there are cases where some of them are told that the babies are dead and they are not even paid one kobo and some were just paid some stipends,” she said.
Mrs Bai recalled the case of a girl who was taken to Abia state whose baby was sold and was given N100,000 as well as another case where a woman came from Bayelsa state and bought a baby. She added that these babies were yet to be recovered.
Bai further lamented that Benue state was fast becoming a hub for sale of babies even as she appealed to the government to assist those in the rural areas so that they are not susceptible to this form of human trafficking which is sale of babies.
She also advised parents to watch out for their children and be mindful of what they are doing stressing that teenage pregnancy should not be the end of the world for any girl child.
“If a girl is pregnant, that doesn’t mean the end for the girl. Parents should allow their children to open up to them and watch carefully what is happening around them because the traffickers are around and they are actually taking advantage of these young girls.”
The NAPTIP boss commended the efforts of security operatives in the state, particularly, the DSS for their assistance in tracking down the syndicates and urged the media to partner with NAPTIP to sensitize the public about activities of traffickers.
“We are going to sensitize more people through town hall meetings with communities because most of the victims are from the less privileged homes where parents don’t have good means of livelihood. So we need to talk to them.
“One of the main visions of the new Director General of NAPTIP, Engr. Basheer Mohammed, is to bring everyone on board, tell them about human trafficking so as to stem the tide and I am committed to that,” Bai stated.