Cleric decries spate of human trafficking as police arrest two suspects in Delta
The Archbishop, Catholic chdiocese of Ibadan, Most Rev. Gabriel ‘Leke Abegunrin, yesterday called on the government to curb the menace of human trafficking, lamenting that it is as worse as kidnapping and other crimes.
Abegunrin made the call on a day the police arrested two suspected child traffickers and rescued a two-year-old child at Issele-Asagba, Aniocha North Local council of Delta State.
The cleric spoke during a one-day stakeholders’ conference on human trafficking organised by the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Ibadan, in collaboration with Religious Sisters of Charity, funded by Misean Cara Mission support from Ireland.
The programme had the theme, ‘Together, We Can Break the Chain of Trafficking’.
He said: “Human trafficking has become something like business. Kidnapping and human trafficking are the same. I want our government to get involved on how to curb human trafficking by creating awareness on the menace of the act. With government’s support and forces, the act can be curbed. We can also work together with the government.”
Head of Programme Officer, JDPC Caritas, Rev. Sr. Augustina Offor, lamented that statistics of human trafficking in Oyo State was appalling.
One of the facilitators, Dr. Oluwakemi Ademola-Aremu, also said: “A lot of people are wasting away because of trafficking in human beings. It affects everybody. Those affected are mostly women and children. We must assist the victims of human trafficking.”
The keynote speaker, Rev. Williams Marcus, who was represented by Mrs. Oluwaseun Olajuwon Banjo, said the act was prevalent in Oyo, describing it as evil.
The Delta State Police Spokesman, DSP Bright Edafe, who announced the arrest of the two suspected child traffickers in the state in a statement, gave the names of the of the suspects as Mallam Sa’ad Ahmed Baba ‘m’, aged 57 years, and Halima Abubakar ‘f’, aged 25 years, of No.12 Lagos Street, Jaret Cable Point, Asaba.
He said: “On August 3, 2023, at about 1100hours, the Command received information from a resident of Jaret in Asaba that her child, Ridwan Ibrahim ‘m’, aged two years, went missing while playing with other children in the compound of her sister whom she went to visit.
“Following this information, the Commissioner of Police, CP Wale Abass, detailed operatives of SIB to embark on an intelligence-led investigation.
“The team swung into action, analysing the phone conversation of some suspected persons, and this led to the arrest of the suspects.”
Edafe added that investigation was still ongoing. He said the CP urges parents and guardians to be cautious and pay close attention to their children and wards in order not to fall victims, while assuring residents that the Command would not allow criminal syndicates to thrive in the state.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.