The Abia command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has arrested two persons in Umuahia in connection with alleged child trafficking, child labour/slavery and violence against their wards.
The State Commandant of the corps, Mr Nnamdi Nwannukwu, said this on Thursday in Umuahia while briefing newsmen on the activities of the command.
Nwannukwu gave the names of the suspects as Ozioma Eke, 41 (female), and Nkemakolam Akabuogu, 41, both residents of No. 55 and No. 52 School Road, Umuahia, respectively.
Eke was accused of subjecting her ward, 13-year-old girl, to abuse and inhuman treatment.
According to the commandant, Eke was handed over the girl on the pretext that she would send her to school but unfortunately turned her into a slave upon arrival in Umuahia in November.
“It was further discovered that the victim was made to suffer diverse abuse, including denial to formal education, forced labour, battery, starvation and being forced to sleep in her madam’s toilet.
“The little girl’s account was corroborated by the testimonies of some concerned neighbours upon whose information this arrest was made,” Nwannukwu said.
He further accused the second suspect, Akabuogu, of sending his 12-year-old nephew, to hawk sachet water on the streets of Umuahia.
“He was forced to hawk sachet water between 7am and 9pm and make a daily return of between N600 and N1000, depending on the season,” the NSCDC boss said.
He said that the inability of the suspect to register him for his common entrance examination made him to repeat a class.
“The boy was also forced to sleep under the staircase, among other inhuman treatment, in violation of the Child Rights Act,” he said.
Nwannukwu promised the readiness of the command to partner relevant agencies and government at all levels “to ensure full implementam of the Act”.
He warned prospective violators of the Act “to stop forthwith or be prepared to face the full weight of the law”.
He also advised parents to limit the size of their families within their financial capability.
He said that the command had handed over the suspects to the National Agency for the Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons for diligent prosecution.
In an interview with newsmen, Eke denied the allegations of maltreatment against the girl, adding that she was waiting for resumption of schools in order to enrol her.
Akabuogu admitted that he allowed his nephew to hawk sachet water during the closure of schools so that he could save money for him, “given the economic situation of the country.