The Kogi State Government has repatriated 34 trafficked children to Plateau State.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Fatima Kabir Buba, disclosed this on Sunday during a press briefing in Lokoja.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency had last Thursday intercepted two commercial vehicles, Toyota Sienna and a 12-passenger Mazda bus with number plates Lagos LND-124-FV and Oyo BDJ-683-YK, respectively, along the Okene-Lokoja Expressway, which were conveying minors from Ogun State to Plateau State by a suspected human trafficking syndicate.
During interrogation, the bus drivers said the kids were handed over to them by a woman known as Mama Blessing, aka Martina, at Ijebu-Ode to be conveyed to Abuja, adding that on arrival in the Federal Capital Territory, the woman was to call another bus driver, who would convey them to Riyom in Plateau State.
Buba said the repatriated children were within the age range of nine to 19.
She stated, “After several interviews and investigations by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in Kogi State, we were meant to understand that all the trafficked children are from Plateau State. The issue is still under investigation and the children were repatriated to their state and handed over to their Ministry of Women Affairs to reunite with their parents.
“It is important to state here that the Kogi State Government under our amiable governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, will continue to protect children and ensure that criminals have no breeding place in our state. Our administration will follow this incident to a logical conclusion and ensure that those behind this evil act are brought to justice.”
According to her, the ministry has already written to the Ministry of Women Affairs in Ogun State to track down the suspected trafficker, adding that the Director Operations, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Mr Daniel Atokolo, was conducting investigation to track down all members of the syndicate involved in the illegal business.