A suspected human trafficker, Mrs. Rosemary Nwachukwu, has been arrested by officials of the Lagos State government, following a tip-off that she uses her orphanage to engage in the act.
Nwachukwu is said to operate an illegal orphanage by the name Saint Stephen Charity Foundation, a home for orphans and less privileged located at 30/32 Abiodun Adebanbo Street, Egbeda.
Officials of the Office of Youth and Social Department led by the Director, Child Development, Mrs Alaba Fadairo and officers from the Office of Public Defender, OPD, backed by policemen stormed the illegal orphanage home and rescued the children.
The age of the children range between three months and 12 years. They comprise three infants aged 3-6 months and 22 other children.
According to the Director, OPD, Mrs Omotola Rotimi, it was discovered upon investigation that Nwachukwu trafficked 27 children who were kept in a room.
Raimi said the woman allegedly used the children to raise money and defraud innocent members of the public who needed to adopt children, adding that 25 children were rescued while the whereabouts of the remaining two were unknown.
According to Fadairo, the Director, Child Development, the illegal business was being conducted in a room in the residential building, saying that upon investigation, it was discovered Nwachkwu had been engaging in various anti-child development activities, such as illegal adoption, trafficking and others which she said, were carried out with selfish reasons.
“Investigation also shows that there are no records on each of the children and no evidence of how the children got to her home and no form of police or security report,” she explained.
Fadairo warned members of the public to be vigilant and report such cases of child trafficking to the media or the government for necessary action.
She stated people and organizations that operated unapproved or illegal orphanages would be arrested and prosecuted for human trafficking.
The suspect, Nwachukwu said she had been running the illegal orphanage home for the past 18 years and that it was purely on charity basis, denying that she trafficked in children.
Residents in the area said they never knew such orphanage home existed, while the police are still investigating the issue.
The OPD has vowed to charge the alleged culprit to court after investigation had been concluded as the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire is very much interested in the case.