A55-year-old woman identified as Mrs. Etuk Effiong and her daughter were on Friday arrested in Calabar, Cross River State, after they were found with 23 children suspected to have been kidnapped and brought to their home.
The Punch Newspaper reported that the woman and her 27-year-old daughter, whose name was given as Inameti, were arrested by policemen from the Mbukpa Police Station in Calabar-South axis of the metropolis on a tip off.
Although the age of the children, who were looking hungry and dressed in tattered clothes, could not be ascertained, a policeman said they were between the categories of three to nine years.
The children sat on the dusty floor behind the police counter as most of them were crying while others slept as the police barred journalists from taking any picture.
The police did not also allow journalists who thronged the station to speak with the arrested suspects.
State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Hogan Bassey, who confirmed the arrest, said the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Henry Fadairo, would speak on the development after investigation had been concluded.
It was gathered that the two key suspects were picked up on Friday following a call from the Clan Head of Efut Unwanse, OkonEtim-Effiong.
Etim-Effiong, who later granted audience to our correspondent in his palace said, “The landlord of the house at No. 30 Asuquo Abasi Street alerted me that one of his tenants, Inameti, was camping unusually high number of children in her one room apartment under suspicious circumstance.
“When I got there and confirmed, I had to alert the police who came and evacuated them to their station on Mbukpa Street in Calabar-South, including the suspect as well as another elderly woman whom she claimed was her mother.”
According to the clan head, the principal suspect, the mother, claimed that she was a general overseer of a church in Akwa Ibom State, where she was about to move the children.
Etim-Effiong also said that the woman, whose husband’s name was given as Daniel Effiong, is from Ukanafun Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
He said the suspect claimed that she had “official” permission from Federal Government to run an orphanage, adding that she took the children in order to “train” them in AkwaIbom State.
The clan head, who said his quick intervention saved the suspects from being lynched, believed that most of the children might have been stolen from different parts of Calabar.
Also giving his version of the story, the landlord of the house were the children were camped, Mr. Nsikak Ekpo said, “My wife alerted me early this morning that over 20 little children arrived my compound in a truck about one hour earlier and were camped in Inameti’s one room apartment