The syndicate was headed by a 55-year old former councilor from Ndemili North local government of Anambra state, Nkechi Odiliyen who claimed to own an orphanage home in Anambra.The Gombe state police command had been on the trail of the abducted 19 children since 2017 resulting in the recovery of two of them two years ago. The police had launched a manhunt for Nkechi alleged to have been on the run since 2017 following the plan of the police to effect her arrest.
The state Commissioner of Police, Maikudi Shehu while addressing journalists in Gombe said Nkechi was eventually arrested alongside three accomplices: a man and two women, and 12 children were in the process of arrest rescued.
He added that Nkechi, during interrogations confessed that she sold eleven children to some merchants from Asaba in Delta State. However, Nkechi while responding to questions from journalists confessed to trading in the sale of children adding that she was running an official motherless baby home in Anambra.
“I buy male children for N300, 000 and female for N250, 000. But I sell each for N750, 000 to an interested buyer,” she said.
One of her accomplices, Hauwa Abubakar from Gombe state also confessed to the selling of the children to ritualists. She confirmed that she had supplied Nkechi with seven abducted children.
Her boyfriend, 29-year old Ali Bala from Taraba state however disagreed with the CP who told newsmen that he sold two of his children at an agreed amount to Nkechi. He said he gave his two children out for proper upbringing in a Christian way and never collected any money in return.
But Faith Nkpor, another suspect who had been in remand for over a year said she once bought two male children from the syndicate.
The state government through the Commissioner for internal security, Dauda Batari attributed the rampant child-trafficking to operations of illegal motor parks, promising government action in this regard.
His women affairs counterpart, Naomi Awak also described as traumatic the agony of three years separation of children and parents.