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The tears that had dotted the faces of parents whose children were recently stolen from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Taraba State yesterday gave way to jubilation, as the children, who were rescued by the Nasarawa State Police Command were reunited with their families.
The 12 children, whose ages range between four and 14, were last November forcefully taken from one of the IDPs camps in Gassol Local Council by a suspect who specialises in child theft.
The suspect, who was later arrested and is being detained, was said to have on several occasions disappeared with children in IDPs across the country without the knowledge of their parents and the management of the camps.
Receiving the children in Jalingo, Commissioner of Women and Child Development, Lois Emmanuel, charged parents at the IDPs to be vigilant and desist from entrusting their children’s and wards to unknown persons.
Emmanuel stressed that no parent in the camps has the rights to give out his/her child/children without the knowledge of the state government, which would not take it lightly with any parents found trading their children for money or material items.
She assured that the state government would continue to work tirelessly to improve the condition of living for the entire IDPs.Also speaking, Director of Child in the ministry, Elizabeth Kwanchi, pleaded with the state government to set up teams that would be mandated to sensitise the IDPs against child theft.
Visibly overwhelmed by the rescued, Chairman of the IDPs, Bitrus Kaji, said his leadership would scrutinise its persons coming in and out of the camps to prevent future occurrence.
He urged the state government to intensify security at the IDPs camps to discourage persons with ill intentions from accessing the camps.Some parents of the rescued children, who spoke to The Guardian wondered what would have become of them had the state government and Nasarawa Police command not acted quickly.
Nasarawa Police Command spokesman, Idrisu Kennedy, said was able to intercept the culprit and rescue the children following a tip off from some good Samaritans.
The children, who were later handed over to their biological parents, said the suspect who came in the guise of a religious preacher lured them from their various places of domicile in the camp.Vices, such as child abduction and rape have been reported in IDPs camps across the country.
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