By Bukar Bolori
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA have smashed a human trafficking syndicate and intercepted 34 children between ages of 8 and 14 being trafficked from Ijebu Ode to Abuja enroute Jos.
Also intercepted by the NDLEA are 64,000 pump action gun cartridges and a new pump action gun at a store located at Success Line, Marine modern market, Onitsha, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra state.
A statement on Friday by the spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, said operatives on patrol along Okene-Lokoja expressway in Kogi state intercepted 34 children between the ages of 8 and 14 being trafficked from Ijebu Ode, Ogun state to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
He said the minors who packed in two commercial buses; Toyota Sienna and a 12- Seater Mazda with registration numbers Lagos LND124FV and Oyo BDJ-683YK respectively, were recovered in the early hours of last Thursday from the human trafficking syndicate.
According to Babafemi, the bus drivers confirmed that the kids were handed over to them by a woman at Ijebu Ode to be conveyed to Abuja, adding that on arrival in FCT, the woman is to call another bus driver who will convey the children to Riyom in Plateau State.
It was further revealed that the children were initially trafficked from Plateau state to Ijebu Ode, where they were distributed to different households as domestic servants. Some of the children were discovered to have served for two years and their rewards sent to woman’s agent in Jos.
On the interception of the arm and ammunition, Babafemi said the discovery, which led to the arrest of an arms dealer, 34-year-old Donatus Igwebudu followed credible intelligence on drugs and arms deal in the location.
He said backed by soldiers, the NDLEA operatives stormed the store last Wednesday and moved the arm and ammunition to the agency’s office in Awka.
Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) has commending the officers and men of Anambra and Kogi state commands of the Agency for their vigilance and preparedness to work in synergy with other security agencies in their areas of responsibility, urging them to sustain the tempo.
He also directed that the arm and ammunition along with the suspect arrested in Anambra be transferred to the police while the 34 trafficked children be transferred to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP for further investigation.