Otti Admonishes Parents Toying with Children’s Security as Police Rescue 3 Abducted Abia Siblings

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahi

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has urged parents to stop toying with the security of their children, saying that such lapses create opportunities for child traffickers and other criminal elements to abduct children.

He gave the charge, weekend, when he received the three Abia siblings rescued by police after they were abducted and trafficked to people in different towns in Anambra and Delta States.

The three children – Gideon, 8, Divine, 6, and Israel, 4 – from Amaoba-Ime Oboro in Ikwuano Local Government Area were abducted on May 10, 2024 by a commercial cyclist who was conveying them home from school.

Otti received the children, their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chijioke Osinachi, and community leaders that accompanied them to his Nvosi country home in Isiala Ngwa South LGA, expressing gratitude to God and all those who worked hard to rescue the children.

He noted that the abduction of the three siblings “was avoidable” given the circumstances, hence the need for parents to be alive to their parental obligations, adding, “you should not hand over your children to people you do not know, be they keke or okada riders.”

The Abia governor stressed that parents should make proper care of their children a top priority irrespective of their busy schedules.

He said: “There is nothing you’re doing that is more important than looking after your children. That is my word to parents, grandparents and everybody who has something to do with one Abia child or another.

“It is very, very important that we take their security, comfort and safety very seriously. A lot of lessons have been learnt from this and I believe we shouldn’t let this kind of thing repeat itself.”

Otti said that security operatives that took part in the rescue operations should endeavour to follow it through and ensure that justice was served to everyone involved in the abduction and trafficking of the children.

He stated that the government would support the rescued children in the best way it deemed fit, adding that time has come for communities to go back to the positive culture of seeing all children as belonging to everybody.

Meanwhile, the Abia State Police Command has given details of how the abducted children were rescued from different towns in Anambra and Delta States where they were trafficked.

In a press release issued weekend in Umuahia, the police public relations officer (PPRO) of the Abia Command,  ASP Maureen Chinaka, said that the investigations and rescue of all the children lasted 35 days from May 10 to June 13.
She recalled that the Osinachi siblings were abducted “by an unknown cyclist”, who was hired by their grandmother to take them to their home after the children had visited her.

“We are happy to announce that all the three children have been rescued and reunited with their family,” the PPRO said.
According to her, Obioma Divine Osinachi was rescued at Ekwulobia in Anambra State on May 21, 2024 followed by Gideon’s rescue on May 23 at Nkpor also in Anambra, while Israel, the youngest of the siblings was rescued at Warri in Delta State on June 13, 2024.

The Abia police spokesperson said that in the course of investigations :four female suspects and one male suspect were arrested in connection with the crime”.

“The suspects were arrested variously at Amawbia and Nkpor in Anambra State, as well as Warri in Delta State.

They include, Reverend Sister Pauline Alozie (female), Chizoba DJ (female), Glory Umuna (female), Mrs. Georgina Nonye Okoye (female), and Philip Ibe (male),” she said.

Chinaka stated that the suspects “are in custody and will be charged to court very soon”, adding that the public should be security-conscious and ensure children’s safety”.

She expressed the appreciation of the Abia Police Command to various stakeholders, including Mayor of Ikwuano LG, Mr. Osinachi Nwaka, and the Abia State Homeland Security, whose collaborative efforts assisted in the rescue of the children.

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