The rescued youths in Abakaliki.
Police burst human trafficking gang in Ebonyi
By Enyinna Omoke,
Ebonyi State Police command has rescued 32 victims of human trafficking in the state and arrested the managers of the company – NEO Life – behind the illegal business.
The police also disclosed that the children, who were trafficked from different parts of the country, were forced into hard labour and sexual exploitation in the name of networking/ hawking NEO Life company products at their hideout in Okposi Umuaghara, Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The suspects, it was gathered, made a useful statement to the police, which led to the discovery of their hideout, where two of the gang members were arrested.
Among those arrested were one Nwagboduhu Ekene, aged 20 years; and Nwaoko Godwin, aged 24; while 32 trafficked underaged children were rescued from them who are indigens of Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Benue, Abia and Rivers states, respectively. One Chidera Nwankwo was not among those rescued in the state.
Nigeria News Flight gathered that the police got to know about the illegal business on January 7, 2022 at about 930 hrs, while investigating a case of a missing person reported by Mrs. Nwankwo Ijeoma of Uterufie village in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. She reported that her daughter, Nwankwo Chidera, aged 14 years, left home to unknown destination and never returned.
During the investigation, a company’s advertisement sheet captured “NEO Life” containing a phone number was found in the daughter’s room, which was used to trace the owner of the phone number, who was later identified as Christian Nwankwo and was arrested.
It was gathered that the suspects rented two rooms apartment at Diamond Villa Lodge adjacent to Ebonyi State University Medical Department, Pressco Campus, which serves as a place of aboard for the victims.
Meanwhile, four among the rescued victims – Gloria Mbam, Emmanuel Elechi Odeh and Chibuike Uzogo – had earlier been reported missing by their parents.
Besides, the command now has a total of 18 unclaimed children rescued from the suspected traffickers.
To this end, the Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi State, CP Aliyu Garba, requested parents and members of the public whose children are missing to report at the command headquarters for identification and possible claim of their wards.