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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Edo taskforce apprehends couple for selling baby to fund drug addiction

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In a significant development, the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking has successfully apprehended a 48-year-old man, Anthony Igbinogun, and his girlfriend, Joy Umukoro, 28, for the disturbing act of selling their one-month-old baby to support their drug addiction.

These arrests also involved their friend, 26-year-old Precious James, who played a role in facilitating the illicit transaction and connecting the couple with the buyer in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

During a press briefing in Benin City, Abigail Ihonre, the Head of the Investigation Unit of the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking, disclosed that the baby was sold for N1.7 million. She emphasized that ongoing investigations aim to rescue the infant and apprehend the buyer involved in this illegal trade.

Ihonre revealed, “Our investigations have revealed that Joy Umukoro, the mother of the baby, gave birth to the child in April 2023 and conspired with her boyfriend to sell their baby for N1.7 million. She has confessed to the crime.”

As efforts intensify to locate the buyers and secure the baby’s safety, the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking is determined to ensure that all those involved face the full consequences of their criminal actions. The case will be presented in court by Monday, June 26, 2023.

These individuals resorted to such a heinous act due to their inability to care for the child and their alleged drug addiction. However, selling the baby was not a solution but rather a decision that could potentially ruin their lives.

Trafficking offenses carry severe penalties, including up to seven years of imprisonment. The public is urged not to engage in the sale of children but to seek assistance from the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking or collaborate with the Ministry of Gender and Women Affairs for the welfare of their babies. Other agencies dedicated to child welfare can also provide support. Selling a child is not a viable option, as it may lead to imprisonment and further consequences.

Joy Umukoro, the baby’s mother, admitted to selling the one-month-old baby to a willing buyer in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for N700,000. She confessed that the funds were primarily used for drugs, with a portion given to the agent who facilitated the transaction and the rest sent for the upkeep of her other two children and her father’s burial expenses.

Anthony Igbinogun, the baby’s father, shared that they made the decision to sell the baby after realizing they couldn’t provide for its care. Upon the mother’s return from Rivers State, she gave him N100,000 as her share of the proceeds.

Precious James, who played a role in arranging the illegal deal, admitted that all three individuals involved were drug addicts and were unable to care for the baby. She revealed that her friend informed her of the successful sale and used a portion of the money to purchase drugs for her.

The apprehension of these individuals sheds light on the dark reality of human trafficking and the desperate measures some may resort to due to addiction. It serves as a reminder of the importance of prioritizing child welfare and seeking assistance from appropriate channels when faced with challenging circumstances.

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