Posted by News Express | 16 March 2021 | 218 times
A non-governmental organisation, Public Enlightenment Project, has called on the Abia State Government to ban adoption of children below three years to stem the rising spate of human trade in the state.
The Executive Director of the organisation, Mrs. Lilian Ezenwa, who spoke at a news briefing in Umuahia during the presentation of a recovered six-year-old Grace Nzubechi, daughter of a petty trader, who was abducted 14 months ago, said illegal adoptions going on in the state was akin to trading in human beings, not trafficking.
News Express gathered that an alleged woman trafficker whose name was simply given as Oluchi, according to Mrs Bridget Nzubechi, mother of the kidnapped girl, had paid a sympathy visit to her at her Obizi Amakama residence to condole with her over the death of her father in-law.
Mrs Nzubechi told newsmen that Oluchi, who claimed to be a Prophetess, had settled at Obizi Amakama in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State and disappeared but reappeared in December 2019.
“When she came back, she visited me to sympathise with me on the death of my father in-law. She inquired how we were faring and later requested that I follow her, with my children, to Isigate so that I will buy food items for my family,” Mrs. Nzubechi said while narrating her ordeal.
At Isigate, she said Oluchi gave her N4, 000 to go and buy food items and leave her two children in her custody.
“As soon as I collected the money from her, I lost my memory. I was wandering from one end of the market to the other until a woman from my village, Obizi Amakama, saw me, called me severally, when I could not respond, the woman, suspected I have come under a spell, dealt me several blows and my senses were restored.
“I went to the spot where I left my children in the custody of Oluchi and they were nowhere to be seen,” Mrs. Nzubechi recounted. She added that efforts to trace Oluchi and her two children proved abortive as Oluchi kept asking her to go different locations at Isigate, that she was coming with the children but failed to show up.
Mrs. Nzubechi said she went home very late that night to alert the villagers, who, she said, almost lynched her, accusing her of selling her children. According to her, after Ouchi was arrested, she confessed to selling the children to a woman she referred to as Nwanyi Police, at N200, 000 each and the Nwanyi Police trafficked the children to Aba and Onitsha, respectively.
However, after tireless efforts by the Police, Grace was recovered and brought to Aba where she went with the Investigating Police Officer, identified and took her back. Her other child is still missing and Mrs Nzubechi is praying to God to make it possible for her child to return to the family fold.
Explaining how the child traffickers operate, Mrs. Ezenwa said they would take up accommodation in villages, stay for some months, survey the village and study its poverty index and identify the vulnerable families that cannot fight for their cause, take them and disappear with them.
She also identified illegal adoption of children in Abia as one of the practices boosting “human trade,” in the state. She alleged that people would go to Ministry of Women Affairs and obtain fake birth certificates from Ministry officials, a document they use to disappear with stolen children.
“That is what people are coming to do and that is why we are thriving in this illegal trade. So, they will go around, according to their specification: I want a boy, not more than six years, they negotiate N3 million, N2 million and then cascade it down their network and everybody gets to work.
“There is a process where some people can work to the Ministry, pay some money to officials and they write a birth certificate for a child they have not seen. This is how people buy children. It is a dangerous situation. We are lucky we have gotten this back. Do you know that some of these children are sold to ritualists, some are trafficked out of the country,” she said.
According to her, people also take care of girls and women with pregnancy out of wedlock, with a view to buying off the child immediately after birth.
To arrest the ugly situation, Mrs. Ezenwa advised government to ban illegal adoptions in the state.
“I think the government should not allow people to adopt any child above three years, except that the child has been in an orphanage,” she suggested, and called on government, corporate organizations and public spirited individuals to come to the aid the traumatized Nzubechi family.
She commended the State Commissioner of Police, Janet Agbade, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna and the Investigating Police Officer and many others who worked tirelessly for the recovery of Grace Nzubechi.
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