The Lagos State Police Command says it has uncovered an apartment in Ejigbo area of Lagos, suspected to be used as transit camp for child trafficking.
Six children, aged between three and 10, were found in the one-room apartment. The custodian of the children, one Comfort Awanaesan, was also apprehended in the process.
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Imohimi Edgal stormed the apartment, Tuesday evening, in the company of some senior police officers and officials of the Gender Unit of the command and others from the Ministry of Youths and Social Services.
The move, according to Edgal, followed complaints by residents that children were being kept by a woman, who is not their biological mother, in a poorly-ventilated one-room apartment.
Edgal said: “We are concerned about the children’s welfare, because we must first ascertain what happened to them while here: were they abused, sold into slavery or sold as domestic help?
“This is not an orphanage or day care centre. We want to know where she got the children from because we are concerned generally about child abuse.”
However, when the said custodian was interrogated on how the children got to her custody, she claimed that they were her nephews and nieces.
Comfort, who hails from Akwa Ibom State, said: “Two of them are my immediate elder sister’s children, three are my eldest sister’s children, whose father was a policeman, while one of them is my child.
“My eldest sister’s place of work is far, so she leaves them in my care and checks on them occasionally.
“I am a contract staff at a beverage company and from my salary I buy food stuff in bulk for them. I also feed them with other allocations from the office. I rented this apartment but there are plans of moving into a two-bedroom apartment soon.”
Asked why the children were not in their parents’ houses and how she manages to care for them while working at the same time, she said: “I run shift. Their fathers are all dead, but their mothers are still alive. Besides, they are all schooling here.”
However, when the children were interrogated, they could not state their surnames. Some of them could also not state their mothers’ names.