The police from Funbi-Fagun Division in Ondo town of Ondo State have arrested a couple Ayobami and Mujidat Wahab as well as two other women for alleged child trafficking
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the station, Mr. Olu-Ojo Ogunmoyole, who disclosed the arrest of the four persons, said the suspects who specialized in street begging, are natives of Ibadan in Oyo State.
According to Ogunmoyole, the suspects were arrested with five pupils who were between the ages of eight and ten years.The suspects were arrested at various locations in the community following complaints by the residents of the area.
The DPO explained that the suspects usually pretend to be blind and move about with each pupil to beg for alms at different locations in the city on daily basis. In a confessional statement made at the station, one of the suspects who gave her name as Folasade Iyiola, said she relocated from Ibadan to Ondo City recently to continue with her street begging.
The suspect, who described herself as a victim of circumstances, explained that she made away with two of the pupils from two different locations in Ibadan without the knowledge of their parents. The woman explained that she had been in the business for over three years because she was arrested by the police.
“I was introduced to the begging business by Mujidat ( another of the arrested suspects), when we met at the Central Mosque in Ibadan. She pleaded with me to help her to get under-aged pupils to be used for begging. I helped her to get two pupils. Then I joined her in Ondo for the business,” she stated. One of the pupils who gave his name as Ibrahim, said he was a primary six pupil of a popular primary school in Ibadan.
He said he was among his colleagues in Ibadan during the celebration of the last Ileya festival when he was captured by one Mrs Mujidat and brought to Ondo.
“I was at Idi-ape in Ibadan on the day of Ileya festival when the woman held me in my hands, after some minutes I became unconscious. When I opened my eyes, I was in Ondo town. I slept for about two days before I could get myself back. A few days later, we started the street begging business, it was on Saturday the first town we visited was Akure and we made a lot of money, they gave us cooked rice at one of the ceremonies where we visited.”
Ibrahim who spoke in Yoruba language went further: “When we got back home they (his captors) gave me food and told me that I will get N500 on each outing,” When he was asked how he got to the police station, Ibrahim said he was being tortured with dreams of his mother crying and begging him to return home to her. When sleep became elusive because of these nightmares, he told another child named Fatai, a fellow child beggar, and asked him to run away with him (Ibrahim) back to Ibadan. ” it was on the trip to Ibadan that we became hungry so we went to a woman’s shop to beg for gaari to eat.
It was the woman that called the police who came to pick us in their car. It was the police that later traced the people that brought us from Ibadan.” Ibrahim said.
The DPO stated that the suspects would be transferred alongside the pupils to the Ondo State police command headquarters in Akure for further investigation on the matter.