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The police in Akwa Ibom said they have intercepted six male teenagers who were being trafficked from Calabar, Cross River state, to Ogun State.

The boys, between the age of 12 and 16, were found inside a bus around Itu, Akwa Ibom state, the police told journalists on Friday in Uyo.

“During investigation, the suspects, one Esther Asuquo Akpan, female, aged 42 and Otobong Solomon Akpan, male, 21, confessed that they were taking the victims from Calabar, Cross River State to Osun State for child labour,” the police spokesperson in Akwa Ibom, N-Nudam Fredrick said.

“The Command has transferred the victims to Ministry of Women Affairs for custody, while suspects were charged to court.”

The police said they have also busted a ‘baby factory’ in Akwa Ibom.

Ndukeabasi Okon of Nung Ukim, Uyo, and her husband, Ndianabasi Okon, were said to be running a child theft/trafficking syndicate before the police swooped on them based on a tip-off.

The police said they arrested the wife, while the husband escaped.

The couple were in the practice of taking pregnant girls into illegal private facilities and keeping them until delivery before selling the babies, the police said.

The suspect, Ms Ndukeabasi, confessed that she and her husband have been in the “illicit business” since 2016 and that male children were sold at N400,000, while females were sold at N300,000, according to the police.

Two pregnant teenagers were said to have been rescued from the facility.

“Again, on 7th January 2020, Operatives of Mbo Division arrested one Peace Bassey Okon, a female who allegedly abducted one Joy Effiong Ekpeima, female, aged 16 and Peace Effiong Ekpeima, female, aged 17, in November 2019 to her sister’s house in Ogun State, denied them access to their parents and subjected them to forced labour and exploitation,” said the police spokesperson, Mr Fredrick, a chief superintendent of police.

“During questioning, the suspect admitted sending the victims to her sister without their parent’s or guardians’ consent.

“Investigation revealed that the suspect took advantage of the victims being dropped out of school occasioned by the inability of their parents to pay their school fees and abducted them for forced labour.

“In view of the above, operatives proceeded to Ogun State and arrested the suspect’s sister, one Sandra Bassey, female, who took custody of the victims. Suspects have been charged to court.”

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