A 50-year-old grandmother, Rita Eze, has confessed to being a member of a syndicate that allegedly involved in abducting children from Lagos and selling them in Anambra State.
Eze was paraded along with one Ogochi Nwekei and Gladys Augustine at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters in Ikeja on Tuesday. The fourth suspect, Elizabeth, who was said to be ill, was not paraded.
According to Punch Newspapers, Augustine, who claimed to be Mary John, connived with one Samuel, who is at large, to abduct three-year-old Oluwasemilore Adebiyi, from her parents’ residence in the Alagbado area of Lagos.
To hatch the plan, 28-year-old Augustine enrolled for beads-making apprenticeship at Oluwasemilore’s mother’s shop in January, giving her name as Mary John. She fled to Anambra with the girl seven days after.
The girl was handed over to Eze, who confessed to selling her to Elizabeth through Nwekei, for N500,000. Oluwasemilore was, however, recovered by the police after Augustine was arrested in the Badagry area of Lagos on February 23.
The grandmother, Eze, confessed that she took N40,000 from the proceed, gave Augustine N60,000 and sent the remaining sum to Samuel. She added that she used the money to pay the rent on her apartment.
She said, “I met Michael in December 2016 at a party in Awka through a secondary school friend, who is an aunt to him. He told me that he impregnated a woman in Lagos and that he would send the child to me to help take care of her. When Gladys (Augustine) brought the girl, Samuel told me to sell her for N500,000.
“I informed Ogochi (Nwekei) and she said one of her friends, Elizabeth, wanted to buy a child. Elizabeth paid N500,000. Samuel told me to give Augustine N50,000 and another N10,000 for her transport back to Lagos, while I got N40,000. I sent the remaining N400,000 to Samuel. I used the money to pay my house rent. I have five children and grandchildren.”
Sixty-year-old Nwekei said she only facilitated the sale of the girl, claiming that she did not receive anything from the money.
“I told Rita (Eze) that a friend, Elizabeth, wanted to adopt a child and she promised to call me whenever she got one. One day, she called me that a child was brought to her. I asked her whether there would not be any problem and she assured me that there would be none. I didn’t know it would turn out this way,” she added.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, while briefing journalists on the arrest, said the suspects would subsequently be charged to court.