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Sokoto Man Arrested For Trafficking 22 Children And His 6 Sons

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Sokoto Man Arrested For Trafficking 22 Children And His 6 Sons

Malam Bala Abubakar, who was detained in Sokoto State for child abduction and human trafficking, was claimed to be a source of support and care for orphans in his village.

According to the Sokoto State Police Command, Abubakar sold 28 children, including six of his biological kids, to Elizabeth Oja and Kulu Dogonyaro, all Abuja residents, for a sum ranging from N150,000 to N250,000.

Abubakar, a resident of the Tudun Wada region of Sokoto LGA, was believed to be running an association that seeks support for orphans, and as a result, many widows turned to him for help with their fatherless children.

A resident of Tudun Wada, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Daily Trust that they were startled to learn of his role in child abduction and trafficking.

“I know Bala has an organisation that caters for orphans. He used to look for support for them from politicians and other wealthy individuals. And many widows go to him for support for their children,” the resident said.

“Nobody knew he was into this unfortunate business (trafficking) until he was paraded by the police along with other suspects.

“Our prayer is that the police would investigate further in order to rescue all the victims,” the resident said.

Nemesis, however, caught up with Bala and his accomplices when, on April 27, 2024, at around 2000hrs, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command arrested Mrs Dogonyaro and Ojah while travelling with five children, including two under-fives and a two-week-old baby, after other passengers noticed an unusual feeding method in which the infant was given powdered milk instead of breastfeeding.

When the commercial vehicle arrived in Abuja, the driver immediately proceeded to the nearest police station to report the suspicious duo.

While at the station, the suspects stated that the children were willingly provided to them by their parents in Sokoto so that they could hand them over to a non-governmental organisation for their upkeep and education in Abuja.

Further police inquiry found that Mrs. Dogonyaro once lived in Sokoto for over 20 years, as corroborated by the mothers of the five rescued children.

According to the police, the mothers were all widows who were duped into giving up their children under the guise of handing them over to an Abuja-based NGO that would take care of their responsibilities, welfare, and upbringing, while other children were abducted on their way to Islamic school.

The police noted that during the investigation, 15 other children were rescued from other states, and two more suspects were apprehended, all of whom claimed to have obtained the children through Mrs. Dogonyaro.

However, in an interview with reporters, Abubakar disputed the allegations against him, claiming that the children were not abducted or trafficked but were willingly submitted by their mothers who wanted them to have a better life.

“I am not a trafficker neither a kidnapper. I know Mrs Dogonyaro through a friend who happened to be the personal assistant to the former commissioner of Social Welfare,” he said.

“One day, a woman who was mentally unstable abandoned her two children in our area. We took them to our village head who invited the director, Social Welfare, who came along with the woman and collected the children.

“And that was how I met Isa who kept coming to me and telling me to hand these kinds of children to Kulu Dogonyaro; that she had a place where they were taking good care of children.

“Since then, I have been taking orphans brought to me by their mothers to her for proper care. But I am not collecting anything from her,” he said.

Abubakar, on the other hand, admitted to handing over his six biological children to the woman but stated that he received no remuneration.

Mrs Elizabeth said she was unaware that the children had been abducted.

“I know Kulu Dogonyaro in Sokoto. We lived in the same barracks for over 20 years. I came back to Sokoto, looking for a job and she came to my place and asked me to help her take the five children to Abuja because Bala brought a large number of children to her. And I can’t say no to her because we have been friends for 21 years. She told me that the children were orphans and would be taken to an organization in Abuja for proper upkeep,” she said.

A Gentle Reminder: Every obstacle is a stepping stone, every morning; a chance to go again, and those little steps take you closer to your dream.

Nnamdi Okoli

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