The Bayelsa State Police Command has confirmed the interception of suspected child traffickers during routine stop-and-search operation on the East-West Road, rescuing 12 children.
According to the command, a police patrol team intercepted the suspected syndicate in two vehicles conveying 12 children into the state for child labour.
The two vehicles, a Mazda 626 with number plates BC 645 KSF and a Jetta with number plate DX 643 PH, were reportedly coming from Akwa Ibom and heading to Bayelsa.
The children include nine females and three males, aged between five and 17 years.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Asinim Butswat, said they were arrested on Sunday during a routine stop-and-search operation along the Glory Land Drive, gateway to the state.
Butswat said: “Policemen, during a routine stop-and-search operation at the Glory Land Drive (in Yenagoa) arrested the two vehicles carrying these 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 has come to claim them.”
He gave the identities of the prime suspects and drivers of the two cars as Inemesi Koffi and Geoffrey Ezekiel, both from Akwa Ibom State.
Butswat said the children have been handed over to the social welfare department of the state Ministry of Women Affairs, while investigation is ongoing.
However, in an interview, Inemesi Koffi claimed that the parents and guardians of the children asked him to help take them to Yenagoa to spend holidays with them.
Koffi, a commercial transport operator in Bayelsa State, narrated that he was in his village, Nkana in Etinan Local Government Area for a burial event, when the children’s parents contacted him and sought assistance.
He said some of the children’s parents are vegetable sellers at the Swali Market and operators of restaurants in Yenagoa.