Why I sell children – Trafficker

Mrs Helen Obi

Ruth Haruna is one of the six teenagers allegedly being trafficked out of Nigeria before the law caught up with the suspected trafficker, one Mrs. Helen Obi in Sokoto State. All the victims are based in Jos, the Plateau State capital and they were being taken to Agadas in Niger Republic via Illela border before a team of policemen on patrol along Kware –Illela road, Sokoto intercepted the station wagon conveying them. The five others include Esther John, Blessing Samuel, Rachael Michael, Jennifer John and Alice Francis.
But for the alarm raised by Ruth Haruna after she became uncomfortable with the posture of the suspected trafficker and the driver conveying them, the story may have been different.

“I was scared the way she was behaving on the way and I was saying I don’t trust this woman. When she sighted the police, she was saying we should not pass police people. So I shouted that I wanted to drop”. It was Ruth’s yell that drew the attention of the police on patrol that came to their aid.

On how she fell prey to the botched trafficking attempt, Ruth simply explained: “a friend in Jos met and informed me that this woman was looking for workers, so I followed them.”

Blessing Samuel, another of the six teenagers, reveals that she was brought into it when she and the four other girls where at a shop along Bukuru Express area in Jos where they met Mrs. Obi making calls.

“I didn’t know her before. She met us and said she has a salon that she wants us to work for her.”

Blessing who says she lives with her brother in Jos, adds that she did not tell him where she was going. “I left with only this dress I wore,” she declares.

Blessing states that she was surprised that after they got to Sokoto, a driver was already waiting to pick them and that though they tried to inquire on some things, the driver merely said they were asking too many questions.

“I was also not comfortable with the way the driver was driving roughly and not through the regular road and I felt if they were clean, they should have moved in the right way and manner.”

Another victim Alice Francis has this say, “I agreed to follow the woman after a friend came to me and said there was a business. When I learnt it was in Niger, I said okay since I have not been there I will go. But along the way, she, (Mrs. Obi) started making phone calls that we are seven. I and others were wondering what she was up to until we saw police and one of us shouted.”

But Mrs. Obi aged 40, says she took them out of Jos to employ them in the restaurant and hair dressing salon she operates at her based in Agadas, Niger Republic.

“I am pregnant and will soon give birth; I was taking the ladies to work for me because the last time, l lost my pregnancy due to too much work. I have a restaurant and hair dressing saloon which I have been operating since two years now”, she claims

Mrs. Obi says this is her fist time of taking ladies out of Nigeria, adding “I am not engaged in trafficking, I was only taking workers.”

However, the driver of the vehicle, 36-year- old Abdullah Sani says he is ready to cooperate with the police to trace the real dealers. When asked how long he has been involved in it, he replies, “I can only remember three times.”

Meanwhile, the Sokoto State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Jinjiri Abubakar has directed the Criminal Investigation Department of the command to transfer the case to the National Agency for the Prevention of Tracking in Persons and Other Related Offences (NAPTIP) for further investigation

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