Nigeria Police officers

Police arrest couple for allegedly trafficking one-month-old baby

The police said they acted on a tip-off.

by · Premium Times

The police in Anambra State, South-east Nigeria, say they have arrested a couple for allegedly trafficking a one-month-old baby from Lagos State, Nigeria’s South-west.

The police spokesperson in Anambra State, Tochukwu Ikenga, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

Mr Ikenga, a deputy superintendent of police, said the couple was intercepted at Bridgehead on Sunday in Onitsha South Local Government Area of the South-east state.

How they were discovered and arrested

Mr Ikenga said the couple was travelling in a luxury bus with the baby when a co-passenger observed that the presumed mother could not breastfeed the baby despite crying for food during the journey.

He said the co-passenger, apparently suspecting foul play, tipped off the police in Anambra State, and the police informed their operatives at the Bridgehead in Onitsha.

“The Police laid in wait for the luxury bus and intercepted it in the evening. The couple and the baby were identified and brought down for questioning,” he said.

He said the couple, upon arrest, confessed that they bought the baby for the sum of N30,000 from the mother in Ajah in Lagos State.

The Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Aderemi Adeoye, thanked the co-passenger, who he described as “public-spirited” for his “humane concern” in giving the information that led to the rescue of the child, Mr Ikenga said.

Mr Adeoye also commended the police operatives for their vigilance and dedication to duty.

The police commissioner directed that the couple be handed over to the National Agency for Prohibition in Trafficking of Persons for further investigation and prosecution.

Meanwhile, the baby has been handed over to the Ministry of Women Affairs in Anambra State for care by the state government.

Prohibited in Nigeria

Nigeria in 2015 enacted the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act which outlawed all acts of human trafficking in the country.

The Act prescribes a minimum penalty of between five and 10 years imprisonment and a fine of N1 million for the trafficking of children, depending on the purpose of such trafficking.

Several persons have been convicted of child trafficking across the country.

The Kano State High Court, in July 2021, sentenced a man, Paul Owne, to 91 years in prison for kidnapping and trafficking of children in the state for sale in Onitsha, Anambra State.

A Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt, River State, in 2019, sentenced three persons to a combined 12 years imprisonment for trafficking a two-year-old male child and one other child.