Kwara state Police command on Saturday in Okolowo, a surburb of Ilorin, the state capital, arrested three suspected human traffickers and rescued 41 children from them.
In a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Okasanmi Ajayi, on behalf of the state commissioner of Police, Paul Odama, said that the suspected human traffickers were arrested at about 4:00 am on Saturday along the Okolowo expressway, Ilorin.
The statement said that 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 Kotangora, Niger State, with 41 young boys and girls (22 boys and 19 girls) with their ages ranging 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 statement said.
However, the Kwara state Police command said that the claim looked spurious and would be discreetly investigated, “as it is highly suspected to be a case of child trafficking”.
The command also said that the children are presently in the custody of the state police command, adding that efforts were on to contact the state’s ministry of Women’s Affairs.
“Investigation and contact with the children’s parents and guardians are ongoing”, the statement said.
The Commissioner of Police, Paul Odama, advised parents and guardians to avoid releasing their children to unknown or deceitful child traffickers, “as the children might be used as house helps and other despicable endeavours, which is against the child rights laws”.
The Police boss also said that the suspects arrested in the case would be charged to court after a thorough investigation.