Two women were on Tuesday arrested by the Special Military Task Force, codenamed Operation Safe Haven, for allegedly trafficking a four-day-old baby girl.
The suspects – Doris Egbufurum, 39; and Esther James, 40 – were said to have been arrested with the baby at Babale Gwam checkpoint, a boundary between Plateau and Bauchi states.
The Commander of Sector 1, Colonel Musa Etsu-Ndagi, who paraded the suspects, explained that they were arrested around 7.15pm on Monday by operatives of OPSH at the checkpoint after the duo boarded a commercial vehicle in Bauchi.
He said, “A passenger in the vehicle raised the alarm that she suspected that the baby with the two women was stolen because neither of them appeared to be her mother. The troops arrested them and investigation revealed that they bought the baby girl from one Mr. Abuna in Bauchi State for N300,000.”
He said the baby was in the military’s custody, adding that she was under the care of medical officers.
Etsu-Ndagi said the OPSH was making efforts to hand over the baby to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, an agency of the Federal Ministry of Justice.
He said, “NAPTIP does not have an office in Plateau State; their closest office is in Makurdi, Benue State.”
One of the suspects, Egbufurum, who lived in Imo State and worked as a nurse with the Peoples Clinic in Bauchi, said she was taking the baby to Lagos after she bought her from a customer in Bauchi.
“I was taking the baby to a woman who has been married for a long time without a child. She sent N320,000 to me for the job. I bought the baby for N300,000 and wanted to use the N20,000 balance for transport from Bauchi to Lagos,” She said.
When contacted, the spokesperson for OPSH, Captain Umar Adams, said the suspects would be handed over to NAPTIP.
He said, “Our troops intercepted a vehicle conveying some passengers. The passengers in the vehicle raised the alarm and our troops discovered two women travelling with a baby suspected to have been stolen. They were arrested and taken to our headquarters.
“They were coming from Bauchi. So, in the course of investigation, they confessed that they bought the baby. They will be handed over to NAPTIP for prosecution. Efforts are being made to trace the place where they bought the baby.”