The police in Anambra State have rescued eight children allegedly stolen at gunpoints.
Amongst the rescued was a 15-year-old girl said to be pregnant.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Haruna Mohammed, the children were believed to have been stolen or snatched from different parts of the country.
Mohammed ssaid a five-gang child trafficking syndicate behind the crime had been arrested following intelligence report.
He said a preliminary Investigation revealed that the children, five boys and three girls, were stolen from Rivers Bayelsa,Imo, Abia and Anambra States.
He said the children were stolen at gun points and were sold to a kingpin in Abia State.
He said, “Following intelligence report, police detectives attached to Onisha Area Command in collaboration with the Command State intelligence Bureau arrested five members of a Child stealing/trafficking syndicate.
He gave the names of the suspects as Joy Lazarus ,40,of No 138 Urata area Aba, Abia State,Janet Gideon, 22, of No 12 irete Street Owerri, Imo State, Gideon Bobby Gods power, 26, of Portharcort in River State, Wisdom Ndubuisi,26, of chokosho Village PH, Rivers State and,
Chukwudima C. Nwogu, 29, of No 138 Urata Area Aba,Abia State.
The PPRO said,”Suspects specialised in child snatching,child stealing and trafficking from different parts of the country, especially South East and South South geopolitical zones
“Upon interrogation, the suspects voluntarily confessed that they usually stole the children and brought them to their sponsor, one Mrs Joy Lazarus of Urata in Abia State who allegedly buys the children at the rate of between N200,000 and N400,000 depending on their age and gender.
“Further investigation revealed that in addition to child stealing and trafficking,the same sponsor, Mrs Joy Lazarus, also lured under age girls into having pregnancy after which she would buy the children from them immediately after delivery.
“So far, Eight Children of various age brackets were rescued from the syndicates including a year-and-half-old baby recently snatched from the parent at gun point in Orlu,Imo State as well as a 15-old pregnant girl.
He said Investigation was ongoing after which the suspects would be prosecuted.
He said the children were in protective care and would be handed over to the social welfare department for custodial care.
He said the Commissioner of Police in the state, John Abang, had enjoined the public whose children were either stolen or missing to report at Onitsha Area Command for proper identification and claim their children.