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…Victim’s madam alleged of trafficking girls from Republic of Benin

Juliana Francis

Members of the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN) have rescued an alleged trafficked 13-year-old salesgirl from constant abuse by her madam.

The child was rescued after a mandated report drew attention to the girl’s suffering and also captured on video how her madam, identified as Modupe, was battering her with a cane.

During interrogation at the Akinpelu Police Station in Oshodi, the madam admitted to beating her young salesgirl at least four times a day.

It was also discovered at the police station that the girl was from the Republic of Benin.

The madam, a popular lace material trader, otherwise known as Mama Fela, also had an earlier incident pending, in which it was alleged that her first son impregnated one of the girls working for her. The pregnant girl is also believed to have been trafficked from the Republic of Benin to Lagos, Nigeria.

The case was followed up by ACVPN members, Afeez Aina and Neye Solomon.

Solomon said: “ACVPN received a report about one Modupe, a popular trader and alleged notorious child trafficking syndicate as alleged by the mandated reporter.

“According to the mandated reporter who alleged the perpetrator Modupe, first Son impregnated one of the trafficked girls of Modupe was reported at Akinpelu Police Station in Oshodi, but she’s always coming back and boasting she owned the police. She has money to throw around and the police would always oblige her.

“On the 22nd of September 2023 exactly at about 10:am ACVPN field officers set out to formally incident the report to Akinpelu Police Station Human Rights Unit on Akinpelu Street Oshodi

“After incidenting the case at the counter, the OC Human Rights of the station accompanied ACVPN officers to Brown Street Oshodi where the alleged Human Trafficker owned her shop. Fortunately for the team, the alleged perpetrator arrived at her shop when the team arrived.

“Immediately Modupe was identified, she was immediately arrested and taken to Akinpelu Police Station. At the station during, the interrogation and statement obtained, Modupe made a confessional statement in which she spoke in Yoruba Language and admitted to the fact that she used to beat the 13-year-old victim four times a day.

“ACVPN Officers observed that the victim in question is not a Nigerian rather she’s from the Republic of Benin.  Earlier the  O/C Human Rights Officer said the case was not to be handled in her section rather it should be transferred to the juvenile section.

“ACVPN officers noticed the O/C juvenile was not around and ACVPN suggested to the O/C Human Rights to transfer the case to Gender Unit Ikeja, but he said the Station Officer (SO) would decide that.

“ACVPN officers were surprised when the OC Human rights gave an instruction that the alleged perpetrator should put down an undertaken and the child should be handed back to the alleged child trafficker after which he said they have to write an undertaken with a promise to return report to the station next week Monday 25th of September 2023 by then the juvenile Unit officers will be around according to the Akinpelu Police Station OC Human Rights officer.

“ACVPN  had to put a call through to the Gender unit Ikeja for the immediate transfer of the case for reasons that ACVPN gathered a lot of reports regarding how the alleged perpetrator was arrested by Akinpelu Police station and she is always getting away with it.

“ACVPN was immediately called by the O/C human rights appealed that the case should be transferred to the Gender Ikeja Unit, the officer refused to accompany the team,  he claimed he had a load on his table, a call was put across to the Station officer Gender unit Ikeja who enquired if the alleged perpetrator was aggressive which was not the case before the case was transferred to Gender Unit Ikeja.

“Meanwhile as the team embarked on the trip to the Lagos State Police Ikeja, the alleged perpetrator Modupe exhibited a beautiful play acting under the disguise of not being well.

“By the time ACVPN and the Akinpelu Police Station officers arrived in Ikeja, the alleged perpetrator acted as if she passed out immediately the Gender Unit Ikeja Station officer in the person of Inspector Kunle Orebe advised that the alleged perpetrator should be returned to Oshodi for reasons that she appeared unstable.

“Inspector Kunle Orebe further advised that the perpetrator should return next week Monday 24th of September 2023. The 13-year-old victim was handed over to an unidentified person who was believed to have trafficked her Modupe.

“Surprisingly, while on our way back to Oshodi the alleged perpetrator acted as if she was not well and started calling her friends boasting she has been released and the case is now closed.

“When we arrived, we received a lot of calls and protests against the release of Modupe, there were comments that Modupe was always acting whenever she was arrested.

“We are calling on the OC Gender Ikeja, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa and Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, NAPTIP Lagos, no Child deserves to be trafficked and maltreated.”

“Mr Kunle had to send  them back because the woman was not stable and handed the girl to the person that gave the girl to the perpetrator and instructed them to report back to Akinpelu police station on Monday and from there they will be transferred to gender with proper documentation.”

Another concerned mandated reporter also has something to say about Modupe.

The mandated reporter: “Modupe’s case should be handled seriously as she belongs to a syndicate that has a chain of child trafficking agencies.

“When they bring these toddlers, they distribute them as if they’re commodities, initially, they’ll tell the hirers to keep them inside the shops. When they’re about seven, eight and nine years old, they start hawking till their teenage years.

“When they start moving them from one client to the other, then at about 16 years old and above, this set will become agents too, working for the same group.

“That is the mode of their operations every year. I think it’s a generational business inherited from their parents, as they’re childhood associates.

“They’re powerful people, working with area boys to deal with struggling colleagues to prevent them from growing. They subdue, harass and chase rivals. They’re lords. They’re also great travellers, importers and exporters of both fabrics and children.

“Even some Police officers know they, they give them money to truncate cases. We want justice for those innocent children.”

 

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