Two persons have been arrested by the police in Anambra state for allegedly abducting children for alms begging in Onitsha, the commercial city of the state.
The suspects, Friday Edet and Ezekiel Ubong, both from Akwa Ibom state, said they realise not less than N25, 000 daily from the ‘business’.
They confessed to taking advantage of the religious belief of the residents to defraud them. “You know the belief of our people in the blessings associated with giving. In fact, we had realised up to N12, 800 as early as 8 am on the day we were arrested,” they said.
According to the divisional police officer, Fegge, Mr. Rabiu Garba, the suspects, who claimed to be members of a humanitarian group, specialised in parading children with different kinds of ailments and using them for alms begging.
He said they were arrested by officers under his division and are currently awaiting trial at the Onitsha prisons. “The suspects are notorious for using abducted children for alms begging in another location different from their states after inflicting strange ailment that attract public empathy on them,” he said.
The DPO disclosed that six male children with hernia as well as a 3-year old baby girl with cancer of the lips, kidnapped by the suspects, had since been rescued and reunited with their families after being treated for their ailments by the division.
“The little girl was kidnapped at the age of one and half years from Buruku in Benue state, during wake keep ahead of a burial ceremony,” he hinted.
Garba further revealed that he had to monitor the suspects closely for a long period of time, following his suspicion of their actions with the children, before luring them with some cash gifts which led to their arrest, while their accomplices escaped. While cautioning the citizenry to be wary of the kind of people they render assistance to, the DPO confirmed that the suspects admitted they make up to N25, 000 daily through the children.