A 32-year-old woman, identified as Chidinma Favour Okorie, has been arrested for kidnapping children and selling each at N50, 000.
The pregnant mother of five was reportedly caught in the act following an alarm raised by the mother of a victim she attempted to steal in Udoma village, Umuoji in Idemili North Local Government Area LGA, of Anambra state.
Okorie, who is also said to be part of a syndicate that has allegedly stolen several babies in the state, said she had been in the business for quite some time until luck ran out on her.
The State Commissioner of Police, CP, Mr. Sam Okaula, who paraded the suspect before newsmen at the weekend said she was arrested on August 2 by police detectives as she was perfecting plans to escape from the town with a three-year-old boy earlier stolen from a compound in the village.
The suspect, narrating her modus operandi, said she regularly came from Ebonyi State to perpetrate her act and then sell the stolen child for N50, 000 to a child-trafficking syndicate that works with hospitals in Onitsha.
The mother of the victim, Victor Nneka, narrating how the incident happened, said: “The suspect came to my compound and asked for somebody. As I knew the person she was asking about, I told my three-year son, Victor, to take her to the place.
“When he did not immediately return, I rushed out to look for him. I didn’t know that she did the same to another woman and took her three-year-old son. It was when she wanted to escape with the two boys that we alerted the community and policeman at Osidi Police Station,” Nneka stated.
In her confession before newsmen, Okorie, a native of Amasiri, Afikpo, in Ebonyi state, said: “Usually I come from Ebonyi State to Anambra State to steal children and sell each one for N50,000 to a syndicate at a hospital (name withheld) in Onitsha.
“Luck ran out on me when I went to Udoma village in Umuoji community and I met a woman who was with her little child, and pretended that I was looking for somebody.
“The mother of the boy told her son to take me to the place and from there I took him away.
“I did the same thing in another street, where I wanted to take another three-year old before the mother of the victim alerted the community and the police and the two stolen three-year0old boys were rescued,” Okorie added.
“I am married and have five children. We live at Amasiri, Afikpo Ebonyi State. I am a trader but it was greed that made me go into child trafficking.
“I started on July 15, 2016, when I sold the son of a pastor (name withheld) to the staff of a hospital that is part of the syndicate.
“The doctor that owns the hospital paid me N50, 000. Immediately I got my money I went back to Ebonyi State, she said, adding that a certain unnamed doctor who runs a hospital in Asaba, Delta State, administered a deadly oath on her never to disclose the truth when arrested.
But the doctor was reportedly interrogated and denied the allegation.
The doctor said, “I didn’t know the woman. I didn’t know that she was dealing with one of my staff with regard to child trafficking. I only saw her once when she came for blood sample.
“I didn’t have any deal with her. I was surprised to see policemen who came and arrested me over child trafficking,” he stressed.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Supol Nkeiruka Nwode advised parents to be more vigilant and monitor their children, adding that they should avoid sending them on errands that are not very necessary.
Nwode said, “The suspect could have escaped with the two little boys if their mothers had not alerted the community and the police.
“The suspects would be arraigned in court soon,” the PPRO added.