THE police at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Owerri, Imo State have arrested a woman, Chioma Anoruo, who has confessed to selling about 19 children to ritualists.
Mrs. Anoruo was arrested by the Orlu community local vigilance led by their chairman, Innocent Anokwute. She was subsequently handed over to the police.
During the raid, five children, including a new-born baby, already kidnapped for sale, were rescued from her house, while a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) belonging to her husband, Emeka, who is now on the run, was recovered along with an undisclosed large sum of money.
According to The Heat Nigeria, an online media, residents had complained of incessant disappearance of children in the area, which was of serious concern to the community leaders.
“This year alone, the community has recorded a large number of missing children,” says a vigilance group member of the community who wanted his name off-print.
On March 30, Master Dominion Obasi, a pupil of Ezioha Community School, Okporo was kidnapped in the school premises and since then, has not been found.
While the community was searching for him, a son of a Deeper Life Church pastor was also kidnapped and is still missing.
However, two sons of the same parents, identified as Chukwuemeka and Chigozie, pupils of Holy Trinity Anglican School, Amazu in Okporo were abducted while returning home after their school had closed for the day.
As the abductors were trying to escape with them on their motorcycle, a palm wine tapper, who saw the two men while on top of a palm tree, raised the alarm, which attracted the attention of vigilance group members, who pursued them and apprehended one of the suspects identified as Ebuka.
The arrest of Anorue followed Ebuka’s confession that she and her husband were his sponsors, who buy each child from his gang for N100,000.
According to the vigilance group member, when Chioma’s husband, Emeka sighted them, he escaped through the back door while his wife was apprehended and forced to open their doors where the victims were found inside a room in captivity.
During her confession, she revealed that human merchandise had been their family business for years.
She confessed that her major work in the business was to keep the victims while her husband would contact buyers and sell them.
She also confessed that they had sold more than 19 children and the remaining five were waiting to be sold to their customers before her arrest.
Meanwhile, the vigilance group has transferred the suspect and the rescued victims to SCID Owerri under a department led by one Supol Obi for further investigation.