Ini Billie, Uyo
Mother of two children recovered from a child trafficking syndicate in Akwa Ibom State, Peace Patrick Paul has recounted her ordeal with the gang.
Paul, who said she was deceived into allowing her children to be stolen, told our correspondent that a family friend, one Utibeabasi Monday Enang, lured her with a promise of taking her to the hospital to treat her ailment and take her children from her.
Narrating her ordeal to CitizenDiary on Thursday in Uyo, Paul, whose two children were among the three children recovered by the Police from a child trafficking syndicate revealed that the syndicate tried to kill her when she started asking for her children.
She stated that Enang beat her up and tried to push her off the bridge into a river but for the intervention of an elderly man rescued her.
“I was in my village and I was not feeling fine, so I told my friend, who is Utibe’s sister and she told Utibe, who said I should see her. I went to see her and she said she would treat me.
“When I told her I didn’t have money, she told me she would take me for a test before giving me any medicine.
She did not tell me that we were going from the Obot Akara local government area to Ikot Abasi LGA for the test. She only said we were going to Abak LGA.
“When I told her I was staying with my grandmother who was not feeling fine, and I didn’t have anyone to leave my children with, she told me to just go with her to Abak. She collected my children and gave them to one woman, who she said was her colleague at her workplace and was known to her. That is how we left my children with the woman.
“We went as far as Ikot Abasi, where she took me to a nurse who told her I had internal heat. The nurse gave me just one capsule but we couldn’t leave because it was night. We had to sleep in a Church. In the morning she left me with the nurse, and came back the next day and took me to her boyfriend’s house where I was locked up for two weeks.
“She collected my phone, removed my SIM card and kept travelling back and forth. When I insisted, she must take me to my children, she took me away at night to Abak. Along the way, we stopped on the road by the Army Barracks and she said we would have to cross the river.
“On getting to the bridge, she wanted to kill me and started beating me up. I shouted and one man came with his son and rescued me. He gave me a place to sleep and in the morning we left.
“Utibe took me to another of her boyfriend’s houses and kept me there for one week. It was the man who helped me to retrieve my sim card (when I narrated my story to him) which I used to call some persons who sent me money. That is how I ran away from her.
“When I returned back to my village, I reported the matter to my Village Head, who reported the case to the Yak Iyamma organisation,” she stated.
According to the Commissioner of Police, Olatoye Durosinmi the child syndicate, responsible for stealing three children that the police recovered, was among the 96 criminal suspects arrested between July and August 2023.
“Within July and August, we have consolidated on our gains of a peaceful Akwa Ibom by arresting Ninety-Six (96) criminal elements within the State for the offences of Murder, Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Rape, Defilement, Cultism, etc and recovered arms and ammunitions.
“On the 9th August 2023, Operatives of Anti-Child Theft of the Command, in a rigorous investigation, arrested one Utibeabasi Monday Enang, who deceived one Peace Patrick Paul, both of Obot Akara L.G.Area and stole her two children, ages 3 and 5 in the month of May 2023.
“The said Utibeabasi Monday Enang sold the two children to one Bella Uko at Aba, in Abia State, while Bella, in turn, sold them Mary Eunice at Asaba in Delta State,” he stated.