Odinaka Ali, a 25 year old woman from Ezilo, in Ishielu Local Goverment of Area of Ebonyi state has been arrested for trying to sell her three children.
According to Desk officer of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, (NAPTIP) in Ebonyi State, Florence Onwa, the lady was arrested by the police after they received a tip-off from a waitress whom she had contacted to look for a trafficker who could buy her children because she could no longer take care of them after her husband abandoned them eight months ago.
The woman has however denied trying to sell her children stating that her arrest was a total frame up and that all she did was to ask the waitress for assistance in paying her house rent.
Narrating what happened, she said, “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 I 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. l met the girl before, so she asked me to come to her and wait for a woman who will enter into 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 heart. 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.”
Godwin Igwe, head of Child Development Department, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development has called on well meaning individuals to assist the woman take care of the children.
“The three children and their mother just repatriated from the Enugu Ministry of Gender and Women Affairs to Ebonyi. The woman is from Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi State. When we interviewed her, she said she is finding it very difficult to survive let alone feed her children. She said her purported husband abandoned her and the children in April.
She said it was very difficult for her to be carrying the third child of eight months old for menial jobs and she became a wanderer. So, the Enugu state government repatriated her. Her mother is late and the father is very old and has nothing doing. Her major problem is how to eke a living.
She said if the government or public spirited individual can assist her, she is ready to take care of her children. If she is allowed to continue to wander in the streets, the children are at risk and if anybody approaches her for the children, she can easily release the children to the person and they will become victims of child trafficking. So, the Enugu government did not repatriate her out of malice or hatred but for safety of the children.” Mr Godwn said