A mother of three children has been arrested by the police in Ebonyi State for allegedly trying to sell off the kids after her husband left her.
A 25-year-old woman, Odinaka Ali, has been arrested by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Ebonyi State, for alleged attempting to sell her three children.
Premium Times reports that Ali was arrested while trying to sell the kids in nearby Enugu State.
While briefing journalists on the rescue of her children in Abakaliki, the Desk Officer of the agency in the state, Florence Onwa, revealed that NAPTIP has taken custody of the woman and her children.
Ali, a native Ezilo in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi, was said to be living with her husband in Enugu State with her three children until eight months ago, when her husband abandoned them to an unknown destination.
Unable to cope with burden of taking care of the children alone, she decided to sell them off but her cover was blown by a restaurant attendant who heard when she contacted a child trafficker to buy the children from her.
“She wanted to sell the baby but it didn’t work. She was so unfortunate because the person she met to assist her sell the baby reported the matter to the police,” Onwa said during the briefing.
But the suspect has denied the allegation, saying though she sought financial assistance from the attendant to feed her children and pay her house rent, she never discussed selling them with anybody.
Ali further claimed that her arrest by the police and subsequent handover to the State Ministry of Gender Affairs in Enugu before being brought to NAPTIP Office in Ebonyi State, was a frame-up.
“My husband is from Amaekpo Ohafia, Abia State. I and my husband had issues before and we later reconciled. We did not have any problem when he abandoned us in April this year.
When I stayed few weeks, and did not see him, I started doing menial jobs with my little children to enable me feed them.
I kept doing this till it became so difficult for me to continue it and I decided to return to my village.
I didn’t want to sell my children at the initial time because I passed through caesarian operation before giving birth to all of them.
I met a girl who sells food in a restaurant and narrated my problem to her and she promised to assist me. I met the girl before, so she asked me to come to her and wait for a woman who will enter a discussion with me.
I waited for the woman and she did not come. I did this three times and I told the girl that I will not come again.
She persuaded me to continue coming and I changed my mind. Before I could notice it, policemen stormed the place and started asking me what I was doing there and the whereabouts of the three kids I wanted to sell.
I told the policemen that I didn’t want to sell my babies because I gave birth to them through operations. The policemen asked me to follow them to their station and I refused.
They immediately invited a policewoman who came and asked me to follow them to the station, that I should obey before complain and I followed them to the station.
While in the station, the girl who asked me to come to her said I told her to start looking for who will buy my children.”
The State Ministry of Gender Affairs in Enugu has lamented the high rate of child trafficking in the state and has vowed to go after all child traffickers as well as take the three children under its wing.