Operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), have commenced an investigation into the alleged trafficking of 67 children(ages range between 10 and 14) from the Northern part of the country by some persons in questionable circumstances.
The children were intercepted in three different operations by men of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian police at different locations around Nasarawa state.
In the first interception carried out by the Nigerian Army during a routine check on Friday 20th January, 2017, a total of 22 children were rescued from a suspected child trafficker along the Nasarawa-Abuja road.
They were loaded inside a 7-seater Toyota Serena space bus and were said to be heading to Nasarawa from Minna, Niger state.
Preliminary information extracted from some of the shabbily dressed children most of who could neither speak nor understand English, revealed that they were allegedly recruited for an Islamic education mission in Nasarawa. Two persons suspected to be the recruiters were arrested.
Also on Thursday 26th January 2017 another batch of 13 children and suspects were intercepted by the Police in Nassarawa State and handed over to NAPTIP for investigation.
Barely 72 hours after the interception, on Monday 23rd January, 2017 men of the Nigerian Police Force on routine patrol along the same Abuja–Nasarawa road, intercepted another 18-seater commercial bus loaded with 32 children of the same age bracket as the first case. Investigation revealed that their mission and destination were the same. Two persons suspected to the recruiters were also arrested.
All the 67 children are presently at the Shelter of the Agency awaiting the arrival of their parents who have been contacted as parts of the investigation procedure.
Speaking on the incidents, Acting Director–General of the Agency, Mr. Abdulrazak Dangiri, expressed sadness over the development adding that it is a strange and disturbing phenomenon that requires attention of all Nigerians.
He however, warned parents against giving their children out under questionable situations.