Reporter : UCHE NDEKE
The Police Command in Anambra State has paraded an 80-year-old woman, Felicia Nwafor, alongside her 39-year-old daughter and self acclaimed pastor, Rejoice, on alleged child trafficking and assault.
The suspects, who hail from Umunya, Oyi Local Government Area of the state, were accused of confining three children: 2 boys and a girl inside different rooms at their Onitsha residence, and subjected them to physical and emotional torture, without food.
The 80 year old mother and her daughter, who claimed to be a business woman and pastor, were arrested on February 19, 2021 by police operatives attached to 3-3 Police Station, Nkwelle Ezunaka, in conjunction with the local vigilance group, following a tip off.
Parading the suspects at the police headquarters, Amawbia, the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Mr. Haruna Muhammed, said the suspects allegedly confined three children inside different rooms at NO.13 Akunwanta Mbamalu Street, Federal Housing Estate, Onitsha, and subjected them to physical and emotional torture.
The children apart from being denied food, equally had several wounds inflicted on them, a treatment that left them unconscious and nearly at the point of death.
According to Mr. Mohammed, the victims, who were badly battered with lacerations all over their bodies, were found in the pool of their blood before they were rescued and rushed to the hospital for medical attention.
He stated that “Exhibits recovered at the scene included some fetish substances, blood stained canes, concoctions and other incriminating items including mortar and pestle.”
Preliminary investigations, according to the PPRO, revealed that the three children were allegedly sold to the suspects by a notorious child trafficking kingpin, who worked under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development in Awka South Local Government Area, one Sabina Izoura.
In an interview, the suspect arrested for dehumanizing three children at Onitsha, Rejoice, claimed that she formerly adopted the the children from the Anambra State Ministry of Women’s Affairs at the cost of Three Million, Fifty thousand naira (#3,050,000.00).
She however denied every other allegation against her.
The police spokesman said the matter would be taken to court after proper investigations.
The Police Command also paraded another woman, Nneoma Okafor of an indigene of Nkpor in Idemili North Local Government Area, suspected to have maltreated and tortured her ten year old house-help to death.
Mr. Muhammed told journalists that the ten year old house help died on February 16, 2021.
In an interview, the twenty-five year old Nneoma Okafor, who said she was a mother of three children, also denied the allegations that she tortured her house help to death, claiming that the girl was handed over to her with the wounds on her body three months before she died.
In a remark, Anambra State Commissioner for Social Welfare, Women and Children Affairs, Mrs. Ndidi Mezue, said the ministry would continue to provide succor to the dehumanized children and called for quick prosecution of the suspects.