Police in Kwara State have rescued 41 children comprising 22 boys and 19 girls while being trafficked to Ilorin, the state capital from Kontagora in Niger State.
The children aged between five and 15 years were intercepted at Oko Olowo along Ilorin-Jebba Expressway while trying to board a vehicle to take them to their destination in Ilorin in the early hours of Saturday.
The police also arrested three suspects who allegedly served as couriers to the kids at about 4am on Saturday.
The police gave the names of the suspects found with the 41 children as Musa Ayuba (44 years), Jeremiah Muda (35 years) and Luka Ayuba (37) all of Bangi village via Kontagora, Niger State.
In a statement by the state police spokesperson, Ajayi Okasanmi, it noted that the three suspects confessed that they were taking the children to a pastor for enrollment in a yet- to-be-determined school.
It added, “On January 14, 2023, at 0400 hours along the Okolowo Expressway, a detachment of policemen on special security assignment intercepted the trio of Musa Ayuba, 44, Jeremiah Muda, 35, and Luka Ayuba, 37, all of Bangi village via Kontagora, Niger State, with 41 young boys and girls (22 boys and 19 girls) with their age ranges between five and 15 years, while waiting for a lorry that was to convey them to their destination in Ilorin.
“The suspects, while undergoing interrogation, claimed to be coming from Niger State to Ilorin to meet a certain pastor to enroll the children in a yet-to-be-determined school, the claim that looked spurious would be discreetly investigated, as it is highly suspected to be a case of child trafficking.
“The children are presently in the custody of the police command, with efforts to contact the state ministry of women’s affairs. Investigation and contact with the children’s parents and guardians are ongoing.”
Okasanmi added that the suspects arrested in this case would be charged to court after a thorough investigation on the case.
He said that the state Commissioner of Police, Paul Odama, advised parents and guidance to avoid releasing their children to unknown or deceitful child traffickers, adding that children might be used as home helps and for other despicable endeavours which contradicted the child rights laws.