A child trafficking syndicate that specialises in bringing underage children from the northern part of Nigeria to serve as house-helps, has been uncovered by the State Security Service (SSS) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The security agency also rescued 36 victims.
While parading the suspects on Wednesday, the spokesperson for the State Director of Security, Friday Onuche, revealed that the group usually deceived the parents of the children by promising them that the children would get a better living condition and education.
He said: “There is need, therefore, for members of the public to be sensitised on the need to be circumspect in the way they give out children or take in children from such unscrupulous modern day slave traders.
The victims comprising 12 males and 24 females, whose age range between five and 14 years, have been brought into Bayelsa State to serve as maids.
The amount expected to get one of these kids as a living maid is the sum of 25,000 Naira.
According to reports, the syndicate is made up of four persons, three men who claimed to be pastors at a popular Nigerian church and a lady.
They are: Pastor Anthoy Onuibiyie (54) from Enugu State, Pastor Bala (41), Pastor Dauda Garda (32), both from Kebbi State and Miss Tonbra Alazigha (38) from Bayelsa.
Pastor Anthony Onuibiyie, who is said to be the leader of the group, travels to states to bring the children after those interested in the services of the children have made a payment of 12,000 Naira to cover the transportation.
It is also reported that this is not the first time the syndicates were being arrested by law enforcement agents, as they have been arrested by the Anambra State Police earlier in the year.
Miss Tonbra Alazigha is a single mother of five biological children. She is a proprietor of Christian Heritage School in Biogbolo, Yenagoa.
She has a charity organisation that is in charge of distributing the children to the different homes that they will serve. She has within the space of six months distributed 16 children in the state.
Some of the children, who narrated their ordeal to reporters, said that the missionaries, who arranged with their parents to place them in choice schools, handed them to foster parents.
“The pastors came to our villages in Zaria and convinced some parents, who are unable to train their children in schools. When we got to Bayelsa they took us to different homes.
“The woman I was asked to live with used to assign me to the farm and I also sold water for her. I no longer went to school. I started school at the beginning of the term but she told me to stop school now,” one of the children said.