Mr. Belonwu Ezeanyaeche is the National President/CEO, Anti Kidnapping, Human Trafficking, Child Abuse and Drugs Abuse Initiative (AKH-TRACADA). In an exclusive interview with Peoples Daily in Abuja recently, he spoke on his NGO’s discovery of “maternity homes” where babies are produced and sold to ritualists. He also revealed that selling of babies or children is now a booming business in some parts of South East and South South states as well as rampant cases of kidnapping of children and adults alike.
Can we meet you, sir?
My name is Mr. Belonwu Ezeanyaeche. I am the National President/CEO, Anti – kidnapping, Human Trafficking, Child Abuse and Drugs Abuse Initiative (AKH – TRACADA) whose Head Office is in Asokoro, Abuja. It is a non – governmental organization and fully registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and other relevant bodies of government.
What motivated you into this?
About 10 year ago; someone confronted me at my village in Igbo – Ukwu, Anambra State. The man used to be an Assistant Chief Registrar of Igbo – Ukwu Customary Court. It was a total revelation as two people (boys) were fighting and I went to separate them, while the on-lookers refused to separate them.
That Assistant Chief Registrar turned and told me that very soon; after he finished dealing with me he will also burn my house. He said that my matter have been concluded by them. I was shocked. I quickly reported him to the vigilante men that were there. I also went further to Ekwulobia to report to the Police Station the same man and his threat to my life and property. He was promptly arrested by the Police. In his statement, he confirmed what he said against me.
I was then, the Executive Director, United Nations for Arts and Culture, under late Professor Catherine Acholonu. I was advised to report in writing to the State Security Service (SSS) Anambra State and copied their Director – General at Headquarters in Abuja. After all that, it was discovered that many people were involved and arrest was also made to that effect. It was discovered that they had planned to kidnap me and maybe in the process, I might be killed. That sad experience made me to join one Anti – kidnapping organization called Volunteered Against Kidnapping and Human Trafficking (VAKHT) as its Anambra State Director. Based on this, I started furnishing information to Police and State Security Service (SSS). The NGO was in full assistance to the state Security Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and SSS where we affected quality assistance that led to arrest of many suspects. Between year 2009 and 2014, it was like a hell as ritualists and kidnappers was on rampage in all the communities in the State, including Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, and Imo respectively.
Since you registered your new NGO and working hand-in-hand with the Police and other sister security organizations, what is the experience like?
It has not been easy for me. We rescued over 30 children from kidnappers. We went further to rescue 35 teenage girls, three pregnant women and 25 persons that included men, women, boys and girls from kidnappers. The climax of it all is the discovery of brothels at Amansa in Awka where babies are produced and sold to ritualists. The rescued victims were handed over to Police and DSS. The owners of the brothel were also arrested by the Police and DSS. Surprise to tell you that this brothel have relocated from Amansa Awka to Ugwuoba in Oji River in Enugu State, and their business of buying and selling is now booming.
To tell you the truth, most towns and communities in South-East are fully involved in this dirty business of buying and selling of babies as well as kidnapping.
How did you get the information on the baby factories?
Very sad indeed to tell you that crime and criminality in Anambra State have now taken a new dimension. We Anti – kidnapping, Human Trafficking, Child Abuse and Drugs Abuse Initiative (AKH – TRACADA), discovered this based on information from young girls (victims) that delivered babies at these manufacturing homes that many big men (businessmen) were involved in the deal. They are the real patrons.
They have these girls, mostly students, into the business of getting pregnant at agreed fees. The money will be paid to the girls after successful delivery of their babies. Young men that will make love (sleep) with them to get them pregnant were also stationed at the “wonderful homes”. After delivery, their babies would be sold immediately to stand-by ritualists, as earlier agreed. They collect their money and go.
Is there extra effort made by your NGO to ensure that Government gets to know of this?
Yes. We advised the State Government (Anambra) to deploy the service of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to take over screening of all vigilante members. This is because, the current vigilante people who claimed to have been screened by the State Government were not trust-worthy and has questionable character.
What do you mean by that?
Those vigilante members screened by the Government are today being used by politicians, kidnappers and ritualists to cause trouble in various towns and communities of the State.
Did your NGO give information to the authority about these baby factories?
Yes. We reported this matter to the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Youth Development, for necessary action, but surprisingly, they kept mum over the issue. Their nonchalant attitude made us to start wondering what has gone wrong.
We came to the conclusion that the cabal in the business of buying and selling of babies were very strong and also connected.
Sir, your comment on rape victims/under aged girls?
It is important to note that rape means having sexual intercourse with a woman or girl without her consent or with her consent if the consent is obtained by force, threats or intimidation or by means of fraudulent representation. It contravenes section 357 of the Criminal Code of the Federation and attracts a penalty of life imprisonment. Section 359 and 380 of the code, says attempt to commit rape and indecent assault on females attracts 14 and two years imprisonment respectively.
The truth of the matter is that parents do not instill the right values in children; indiscipline and immorality are prevalent among the youth. The inability of the most prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubts that the offence was committed makes most rape cases unsustainable in the courts. The court delivers judgment based on facts and evidence before it. The Nigeria conservative nature also hinders prosecution of rape cases. Parents will find it difficult to go to court and testify in a rape case of their girl child because they consider it shameful. I will advise that the Police and judicial system be strengthened to tackle this. Appropriate sex education should be introduced early to our children. Not giving our children sex education exposes them to a lot of things.
Advise to youth?
Sensitization of youth, by going to schools, churches and mosques is the only way out. The bottom line is to educate the youth being used by politicians, ritualists and kidnappers to perpetrate evil in the society. Parents should also question their children that come back with big handset, bags, monies and cars on how they get them. “Longer throat” for money or riches by parents are also part of the problem.
Will like to know your comment on cultism in most youths nowadays?
It has entered into the rural areas. It is no longer in schools. Women and girls should be careful as most boys and men may drug them and have free marathon sex and eventually use them for ritual purposes.
Trafficking of girls to various countries abroad, Is there any way out?
It is out of greed that led them into such. Most of them knew from day one that they were going to do prostitution. Their parents are aware of their business who encourages them to go and make money to build houses and buy expensive cars. I recalled that NAPTIP says over 200 Nigerian women have been rescued from Libya where they are being used as sex slaves. Majority of these girls are being trapped in Saudi Arabia, Libya. Most of them are being killed, while their organs taken away.
May we have your comment on terror attack on Nigeria Police Personnel across the country?
My comment concerning on incessant terror attacks to members of the Nigeria Police Force is that I call on top echelon of the force to appraise the overall security situation and the way forward. I also charge Christian and Muslim clerics and opinion leaders across the country to always fish-out potential trouble makers within their area who could be nursing plans to unleash mayhem to innocent Nigerians.
I however as the National President/CEO, Anti – kidnapping, Human Trafficking, Child Abuse and Drugs Abuse Initiative (AKH – TRACADA), ask the Police Chiefs to improve on their surveillance across the country by conducting adequate treats analysis and intensifying capacity building for effective policing best practices.