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The Ebonyi State Police Command, on Friday, said it has rescued over 32 females and males, mainly between the ages of 16 and 17 years from traffickers, who allegedly dumped them in a two-room apartment, located at Okposi Umuaghara community, in the Ezza North Local Government Area of the state.
The state Commissioner of Police, CP. Aliyu Garba, made this known while parading the suspected traffickers alongside the victims at the B Division of the command, in Abakaliki, the state capital.
He said the suspects allegedly trafficked the children from different parts of the country for forced labour and sexual exploitation.
He further observed that the victims were rescued following a case of a missing minor, reported to the police by one Mrs Nwankwo Ijioma, who hails from Uterufie village in the Ebonyi LGA, of the state, who stated that her daughter, one Miss Nwankwo Childera, 14, who left their house in August 2021, had not been seen.
Garba said, “In the cause of investigation, a company’s advertisement sheet captioned ‘NEO life’ containing a phone number was found in the daughter’s room. The owner of the phone, who was later identified as Christian Nwankwo, ‘M’, age 19 yrs, was traced and arrested.
“The children are trafficked from different parts of the country and are being used for forced labour and sexual exploitation, in the name of networking/hawking NEO life company products.
“The suspects rented two (2) rooms apartment at Diamond Villa lodge adjacent to Ebonyi state University Medical Department, PRESCO campus, as a place of abode for the victims.”
The CP further said one Nwagboduhu Ekene, 20, and Nwaoko Godwin, 24, and one other were arrested alongside the 32 trafficked underaged children at their hideout at Okposi Umuaghara.
He added that the 32 trafficked underaged children hail from Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Benue, Abia and Rivers States.