Bayelsa State Police Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department yesterday paraded suspects who were intercepted with two vehicles conveying 12 children into the state for alleged child labour and child trafficking.
The two vehicles – a Mazda 626 with number-plate BC 645 KSF and a Jetta with number-plate DX 643 PH travelled from Akwa Ibom to Bayelsa.
The children were nine females and three males, aged between five and 17 years.
Confirming the report, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Asinim Butswat, said they were arrested on Sunday during a routine stop-and-search operation along the Glory Land Drive.
Butswat said, “Policemen, during routine stop-and-search operation at the Glory Land Drive (in Yenagoa), arrested the two vehicles carrying the children.
“When they were interrogated, they could not tell where they were going. They said their parents are here in Bayelsa, but till now, none of their relatives have come to claim them.”
The police spokesman gave the identities of the prime suspects and drivers of the two cars as Inemesi Koffi and Geoffrey Ezekiel, both from Akwa Ibom State.
He noted that the police were suspecting a situation of either child labour or child trafficking since the children very young and could not say their destination.
Butswat said the children had been handed over to the Social Welfare Department of the state Ministry of Women Affairs while investigation was ongoing.
However, in an interview, Inemesi Koffi, claimed that the parents and guardians of the children asked him to help carry the children to Yenagoa to spend holidays with them.
Koffi, a commercial taxi operator in Bayelsa, said that he was in his village, Nkana, in Etinan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom for a funeral when the children’s parents contacted him and sought his help.
He claimed that some of the children’s parents were vegetable sellers at Swali Market and restaurant operators in Yenagoa.

READ ALSO  Fresh earthquake kill scores, injures 981 in Nepal