A 17-year-old suspect, Samuel Otu, has been arrested as troops of Operation Whirl Strike (OPWS) operating in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states rescued five abducted children from Shendam Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The Commander of OPWS, Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, who paraded the suspect on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, alongside the rescued children at the OPWS headquarters at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Tactical Command in Makurdi, Benue State, disclosed that the main culprit escaped during the raid.
He explained that the suspect, an indigene of Akwa Ibom State, whose duty was to arrange the children for a woman, Tina Nkechi, who lived in Abuja, was about to transport the children when the soldiers clamped down on him.
“On November 20, 2023, at about 8pm, Sector 3 of OPWS acting on intelligence following the activities of human traffickers, arrested Samuel Otu (17), a suspected human trafficker, with five underage children: two boys and three girls, at the Transit Park in Lafia town, Lafia LGA of Nasarawa State,” he said.
“The ringleader of the syndicate, on sighting troops, abandoned the children with Samuel Otu. The names of the children are Masters Nasiru, Apinan, Mses Khariat, Izan and Adinan. They are between the ages of two and five.
“Item recovered in the suspect’s possession is a Tecno phone. During preliminary investigation, the suspect claimed he was working for one Mrs Tina Nkechi, who is based in Abuja.
“The suspect also claimed that the children were stolen from their parents in Angwan-Kabir village in Shendam LGA of Plateau State and were to be moved to Abuja.”
The commander then handed over the children to the Makurdi Zonal Command of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)
NAPTIP’s Head of Operations in the command, Felix Akperaga, who received the children, said that further investigation into the matter would be instituted while efforts would be made to find the parents of the children so they could be reunited with their families.