The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Abia State said on Tuesday that it had intervened in a suspected child trafficking case involving a 13-year-old girl, Uduak Willy, who reportedly jumped down from a two-storey building to evade punishment for alleged stealing.
The State Commandant of the corps, Vincent Ogu, said this at his office in Umuahia, while briefing journalists about the incident.
He said the incident happened on January 8 at 204, Niger Stone, on Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, near Ariaria Market, Aba, Abia State where Miss Willy lived with a businessman, Emeka Igwe, and his wife, Aniekan.
Mr Ogu said the girl who was liiving with the couple as a house help took the desperate action after she was accused of stealing N500 from the house and allegedly “subjected to serious beating by Mr Igwe and his wife”.
Alleged child trafficking
The commandant said Mr Igwe, along with his mother-in-law, 50-year-old Christiana Godwin, was arrested for “alleged involvement in child-trafficking, child-labour, domestic violence and attempted murder”.
He said the circumstances surrounding the process of the victim’s coming to Abia suggested “she might have been a victim of child trafficking.”
He said the matter would be handed over to the appropriate agency for diligent prosecution at the end of investigations.
What led to NSCDC intervention
Mr Ogu said that the command was alerted about the incident by the Speacial Adviser to the Abia State governor on teenage matters, Chinemenma Umesaka.
“When I got the disturbing information on the ordeal of the girl from Umesaka, I quickly mobilised my men and ordered them to rescue the victim and arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly and inhuman act against the minor,” the NSCDC boss said.
He said Mr Igwe “was eventually lured out from his hiding and arrested by the Aba Divisional Officer, Uche Uduma, to face justice for his action”.
He said the command later took the victim to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, where she underwent a series of tests, including chest X-Ray, Abdomen Ultrasound and C.T Scan for the head, to be sure she did not suffer any internal injuries.
Government officials’ intervention
Meanwhile, the governor’s aide, who condemned the ill-treatment meted to the girl, said the incident was made public via the social media.
She said that the governor’s wife, Nkechi Ikpeazu, drew her attention to the online video and directed her to take up the issue with the NSCDC, to rescue the girl and bring the suspects to book.
She alleged that the suspect relocated out of Abia on the heels of the incident and turned down her request to hand over the girl to her office for appropriate medicare.
Narrating her ordeal to journalists, the victim, who said she came to live with Igwe’s family in November, denied stealing money.
She also denied being pushed down by Mr Igwe as alleged in the social media, saying she took to her heels from the house “and jumped down from the building to escape further beating”.
Mr Igwe and his wife admitted beating her (victim) as a measure to make her admit stealing the money but denied pushing her from the building.
Mr Igwe also denied going into hiding, saying that he took the girl to a clinic for treatment immediately after the incident.
The girl was said to have been brought to the couple from Ododo in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom by Mr Igwe’s mother-in-law through the help of one Mbakara.
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