Akwa — SUB: Stolen in Gombe, sold in Anambra, rescued to Gombe, 18 children unclaimed back in Anambra...
Eleven children said to have been stolen from Gombe and trafficked to Anambra have been returned to police in Anambra after relatives failed to come forward to identify them
They bring to 18 the number of unclaimed children police in Anambra have received.
The children are suspected to have been stolen by a woman named as Hauwa Usman on 20 October 2019 in Gombe and taken to her accomplice in Anambra.
Gombe police returned to Anambra after no relatives came forward to identify them.
Last October police following intelligence report arrested three women in Idemili north council area with three children suspected to have been stolen.
"Investigations revealed that the children were stolen from Gombe State by one Hauwa Usman 'f" on the 20/10/2019 and brought to her accomplices in Anambra State," said Anambra police spokesman DSP Mohammed Haruna.
Parents of the children travelled from Gombe to Awka to identify their children.
Anambra police handed the suspects over to Gombe police command for investigation and prosecution.
The suspects during interrogation in Gombe confessed they steal children to bring to their "sponsor"--named as Nkechi Odinye, 55--in Anambra.
She paid between N200,000 and N400,000 per child depending on age and gender, police said the suspects confessed.
Operatives from Anambra's Special Anti-Cult Section raided a hideout in Obosi, Idemili North council area where a tipoff had led them to believe the principal suspect Odinye stayed.
Odinye had evaded arrest in the last three years by "changing locations", the police said.
Operatives recovered 16 children--10 boys and six girls--"reasonably suspected to have been stolen" from different parts of the country, Haruna said.
"Both the suspect and the children were handed over to the Gombe State Police Command where four of the children were identified and reunited with their biological parents after exhaustive investigation and forensic analysis, including DNA tests.
One was handed over to the parents in Delta.
Back to Anambra
Gombe police returned the seven boys and four girls unclaimed in Gombe to Anambra January 18.
The 11 children will be in custody of Anambra ministry for social welfare, women's and children's affair until their "biological parents emerge", according to the police in Anambra.
A total 18 children suspected stolen remain unclaimed in Anambra.
"In view of the foregoing, members of the public are kindly requested by the Commissioner of Police, Mr John Bassey Abang, to disseminate this message through their mediums to enable the biological parents or close relatives identify these children whose photographs appear hereunder to claim them," said Haruna.
"Anyone with useful information about the found children should report at Area Command Onitsha, 3-3 Divisional Police Station, Nkwelle Ezunaka, or contact the PPRO, Anambra State Police Command, through GSM no 08060970639."