Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on patrol have intercepted 34 children along the Okene-Lokoja Expressway in Kogi State.
NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, who confirmed this in a statement on Friday revealed that operatives also seized 64,000 pump action gun cartridges and a new pump action gun in Anambra.
According to him, the children between the ages of eight and 14 were being trafficked from Ijebu-Ode in Ogun to the Federal Capital Territory.
“The minors packed in two commercial buses – Toyota Sienna and a 12- seater Mazda with registration numbers Lagos LND124FV and Oyo BDJ-683YK respectively, were recovered in the early hours of Thursday, 16th December from the human trafficking syndicate,” Babafemi said in the statement.
“The bus drivers confirmed that the kids were handed over to them by a woman at Ijebu-Ode to be conveyed to Abuja, adding that on arrival in FCT, the woman is to call another bus driver who will convey the children to Riyom in Plateau State.”
He stated that the children were initially trafficked from Plateau to Ijebu Ode, where they were distributed to different households as domestic servants.
“Some of the children were discovered to have served for two years and their rewards sent to the woman’s agent in Jos,” the NDLEA spokesman revealed.
He explained that the gun and ammunition were seized at a store in Success Line at the Marine modern market in Onitsha in Awka North Local Government Area of the state.
“The discovery which led to the arrest of an arms dealer 34-year-old Donatus Onyemachi Igwebudu followed credible intelligence on drugs and arms deal in the location,” Babafemi said.
“Backed by soldiers from the military, NDLEA operatives stormed the store on Wednesday, 15th December 2021 and moved the arm and ammunition to the agency’s office in Awka.”
In his reaction, the Chairman and Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, commended the operatives for their vigilance and preparedness to work in synergy with other security agencies in their areas of responsibility.
He directed that the arm and ammunition, along with the suspect arrested in Anambra, be transferred to the police.
Marwa also ordered the transfer of the 34 trafficked children to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for necessary actions.