Bola Bamigbola, Osogbo
The Osun State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has arrested a pastor, Isaac Akanasema, for child trafficking.
The pastor, a Tiv from Benue State, who resides in Ede, Osun State, the command alleged, took custody of under-aged children and placed them in care of foster parents as domestic workers.
The command, in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Adewale Afolabi, on Sunday, claimed that Akanasema admitted to have brought the children from Benue State.
The pastor, however, explained that the children were released to him by their parents, who were mostly farmers displaced by the farmers/herdsmen’s crisis in the state.
The statement read in part, “Akanasema claimed to have done this in good faith and not for monetary benefits. The only agreement he usually made with the foster parents was for them to take care of the children and be responsible for their education.
“He was said to have begun this in 2014 and the ages of the children involved ranged from 10 to 14 years. When asked whether they were well treated and cared for, the children answered in the affirmative and agreed to stay with their foster parents till they would complete their education.”
Commenting on the development, the NSCDC Commandant in the state, Adeyinka Oguntuase, advised parents to avoid the mistake of giving birth to children they would not be able to care for.
Oguntuase said thorough investigation by the command revealed that one David Azua from the Osongbo Local Government Area of Benue State gave his three children under six years to Akanasema.
He added that Azua said he released the children to Akanasema, because he was unable to fend for them.
The NSCDC boss added that the suspect had been handed over to the officials of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons for further investigation and possible prosecution.