Don Oliver, Eket
A 28 year old woman (name withheld) has been arrested by a special police detective team in Eket for attempting to sell a seven year old boy. A police source said in Eket.
The youngster who is said to be her step-son was, however, living with his biological mother until the father requested to take full responsibility of him. Apparently angered by the child’s arrival, the step-mother contracted a pastor to screen the little boy to ascertain if he was possessed with witchcraft spell or not. On confirmation that the boy was possessed, he was reportedly disappeared from the house.
A dependable source said lady who operates a local Hotel called Prince Udoette Hotel in Ikot Idung Offiong community had arranged with a Port-Harcourt based child trafficking syndicate to pick the boy in a location along Uqua Road, in heart of Eket, but the late arrival of the spoiled the show, as the detectives swooped the scene and arrested the lady on a tip-off.
The community source did not confirm whether the hotel was used as a conduit for the sales of other children; but stressed that she’s been notorious for dealing with suspicious elements coming to the community.
She confessed to the police that she was scared based on the prophet’s instruction that the boy will infect her children with his magical power. When the man of God told me that he will transfer the spell to my children, or kill them, I was really afraid…” she said.
The a police inspector in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), who did not want his name mentioned said that sales of children of Akwa Ibom origin to syndicates coming from Aba and Port-Harcourt was a common phenomenon. “They have a robust network, which keeps buying more and more children here in the State. It depends on the sex, the age of the child and the negotiation. A male child is said to be sold between N150, 000 to N170, 000 a female is between N130, 000 to N50, 000. But it varies on age.” The officer said. “Our team is monitoring them… We will get them all,” he added.
But the coordinator of a human right group, Freedom Impact International (FII), Mr Jackson Bas, though commended the police for rescuing the child; he expressed scepticism over the willingness of the police to prosecute the culprit.
“This is not the first time they have arrested child traffickers. They have been doing so before; we know about this. How many of them have been taken to court. Police will keep them in the cell till their men will come and bail them out with money they called bond…” Bas noted.
He appealed to the government not to turn a blind eye to the torture and killing of children and elderly people who are accused of practicing witchcraft or sorcery.