By Osahon Osahon
The police in Benin, Edo State, have rescued six teenage victims of human trafficking who were allegedly on their way to Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire.
The victims, aged 16 to 19, were rescued by operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber-Crime Unit of Edo State Police Command.
They were allegedly traveling in a Nissan Vannet bus, with registration number: Delta ASB 68 YF, when they intercepted around Isihor community in Benin City, on Benin-Lagos Road.
A statement by the Command’s PRO, SP Kontons Bello, gave the names of the victims as Success Okogbowa (17), Gift Osabuohien (18), Edurance Edigho (18), Gift Edigho (17) Oghayerio (19) and Happiness Oliver (16).
They were being led on the journey by their suspected trafficker, 20-year-old Innocent Godfrey.
Bello disclosed that the Command’s tactical team, led by its Commander, SP. Richard Balogun, acted on credible information, intercepted the vehicle, arrested the suspected human trafficker and rescued six girls.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police, Phillip Ogbadu, has ordered that the victims be taken to police cottage hospital for treatment, before they will be traffered to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), for further investigation and prosecution.
In another development, operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber-Crime Unit, has also arrested nine-member gang of armed robbers and cultists.
The Command’s image maker, SP Kontongs Bello, in a statement, disclosed that the suspects were arrested.
It read, “While on investigation activities at Uneme Eruna area of Edo state on 04/08/2021, in continuation of the case of the kidnap of an 11-year-old boy, one Onose Friday, kidnapped on 19/08/2021, responded swiftly to the distress call on the 04/08/2021, at about 0300hrs from one Aliu Zuberu, who aledged that three men, armed with dagger, robbed him of his money, while on his way to the community.
“The operatives succeeded in arresting the three gang suspects. The suspects, who are members of Eiye secret cult, were arrested while holding meeting with some of the cult members. Names of the three-armed robbery suspects are given as: Jimo Ofeoshi (‘M’ 34), Imodu Anthony (‘M’ 23) and Tunde Prosper (‘M’ 22).”
Bello also gave names of the seven cult members as Yusuf Bernard (‘M’ 33), Samuel Eshio Pope (‘M’ 25), Livinus Joseph (‘M’ 28) Nurudeen Amizetu (‘M’ 25), Samuel Patrick (‘M’ 40), Abu Ibrahim (‘M’ 29) and Innocent Ojo.
“The ten suspects are presently in police custody and have also confessed to being a member of Eiye secret cult and robbery syndicate, who are terrorising the community.
“Items recovered from them are dagger, knife and two secret cult blue berets.
“The community commended Edo State Commissioner of Police, CP Philip Aliyu Ogbadu, for restoring sanity and promise to pay him a thank you visit,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, CP Ogbadu has commended the Commander of Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber-Crime Unit SP Richard Balogun, and his operatives, for the feat recorded.
Ogbadu who noted that members of the public had the responsibility to protect the less-privileged in the society, in order to avoid the menace of youths engaging in crimes, called on the general public to continue to cooperate with the police, especially in the area of information sharing.