The Edo State Police Command in collaboration with the vigilante group has rescued 26 victims suspected to have been trafficked from Ebonyi, Imo, Abia, Anambra and Akwa Ibom states.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Kontongs Bello, the victims comprise 19 children, one teenager and six women.
He said those rescued were heading towards Evbuotubu in Ekenwan Road axis of Benin City before rescue came their way.
According to the police spokesman, the women were lured from their various home states by a woman named Jennifer (also called Ezinne), noting that the suspect is now on the run.
“They were lured in a guise that Edo State Government is giving financial support to single mothers with newborn babies especially twins,” the statement partly read.
“The women said they were forced to go for street begging for their mistress Jennifer. They further stated that only pea-nut is given to them to take care of their children and feeding from the proceed of begging.”
Bello also called on the residents of the state to disregard some social media reports indicating that some women and children were rescued from a baby factory by the Police in Benin City.
He blamed the reports on some mischief makers whom he said engaged in the publication to paint Edo State in a bad light.
“The women and children have since been handed over to Edo State Ministry of Women Affairs for rehabilitation and a possible return to their home States while effort also is in place to arrest the fleeing mistress,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police Edo State, CP Phillip Aliyu Ogbadu, has urged media practitioners and members of the public to always verify their source of information before publication in order not to mislead the general public.
He warned criminal elements to eschew crime, relocate to other states or face the full wrath of the law.
The police boss further advised parents to be wary of unknown persons who come promising heaven on earth to their children as the result is always catastrophic.
Speaking further, he assured the law-abiding citizens of the state to go about their lawful businesses, reiterating the Command’s commitment to rid the state of criminal activities.