The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking inPersons (NAPTIP) has launched a manhunt for a woman suspected to be behind the disappearance of a 16-year-old mother and her three-month-old baby in Anambra State, South-east Nigeria. The NAPTIP Commander in Anambra, Judith-Chukwu Ibadin, told reporters in Awka on Monday that the suspect took the mother and baby to a neighbouring country, Ghana. Mrs Ibadin said the suspect engaged a third person, Nzube Nwakamma, 22, to recruit a girl that could work in her restaurant in Ghana for a N100, 000 monthly pay. She alleged that the suspect, who is said to be resident in Ghana, had successfully moved her victim from Anambra to Ghana for prostitution.
Mr Nwakamma, who facilitated the illicit travel, had been arrested and was assisting the agency in its investigation, she said. Mrs Ibadin said the facilitator, in his statement, narrated how he recruited the 16-year-old from Awka Etiti in Idemili South Local Government Area. According to her, Mr Nwakanma confessed he took the lady, who was his girlfriend, to Nnewi, where he handed her and her baby over to the suspect.
“They met in Nnewi where the woman paid Nwakamma N100,000 to recruit a girl who would work in her supposed restaurant in Ghana,” she further said.
The NAPTIP commander said the transaction was done in May but was reported to NAPTIP by the police in August. She said the agency was working hard to track down the suspect with the information provided to it by Mr Nwakamma. She also gave assurance that the agency would rescue the victim and her baby. The Director-General of NAPTIP, Fatima Waziri-Azi, had taken a special interest in the matter, she said.
“He has consequently ordered an intensive manhunt and immediate arrest of all those involved in the illicit trade,” Mrs Ibadin said.
She described the case as a trans-border crime, saying that the agency had fully activated all the security apparatuses over the matter.
“We shared all information we have about the woman in Ghana with the relevant agencies for tracking and possible arrest,” she said.
She said that Mr Nwakamma had been granted bail on the condition that he would report daily at the agency’s office.
“We want to assure the Awka Etiti people that if the suspect threatens them or becomes a threat, we shall revoke his bail and put him back in detention with a court order,” she said.