A blind septuagenarian, a reverend father and a traditional ruler were among those held in the custody of the Directorate of State Services (DSS) in Akwa Ibom State for alleged child theft.
Chief Osela, a blind 78-year-old man from Imo State; Chief Uchenna, described as a child theft syndicate the ring leader and the Revd Father from Anambra State, were yesterday paraded among 20 suspected child thieves at the DSS headquarters in Uyo.
The state Deputy Director (Operations and Intelligence) of the DSS, Mr Fubura Duke, who briefed journalists while the suspects were being paraded, said that more than 50 children, had been stolen in Akwa Ibom State in the past eight months.
Duke said most of the children stolen were sold through Uchenna, who had in his earlier statement, allegedly admitted to losing count of the number of children he had facilitated their theft and sales.
Of the 20 suspects paraded, only two namely, the heavily pregnant Mercy Okon and her boyfriend, Collins were from Akwa Ibom, while the rest were from other states of the country.
Apart from the five suspects already mentioned, others were Caroline alias Starman, Nnena alias Nurse Jane, Cecilia, who operates a maternity home in Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State; Adaobi, Elizabeth, Amaka, Florence, Ifeoma Gladys, Chinenye and Idam Vivian, all females.
The men were Nwaonu, Emeka, Nnamdi and David.
Uchenna, who admitted to having sold only 12 children since he became interested in buying and selling babies, however said he was ashamed of the business since it has brought him disgrace and shame. He said he was lured into the business by women who had no children of their own.