Published On: Tue, Jun 11th, 2019

How community association rescued trafficked boy from orphanage

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Stories by Stanley Onyekwere

It have revealed how Bwatiye, a socio-cultural association of the Bachama people in Masaka, a densely populated settlement in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State rescued a 10-year old boy, Robinson Emmanuel, from an orphanage in the area.
Robinson, was allegedly taken from Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State to Masaka, on the guise of enrolling him in school on scholarship, but ended up in an orphanage.
It happened that one fateful day, Robinson heard some people speaking his Bachama language and he ran out of the fenced orphanage to greet them. The people became curious as to how he was living in an orphanage.
It was gathered that the mother’s cousin, one Thompson Tutu, knocked on his mother’s door at Numan where they had taken refuge from herdsmen attack.
Tutu came with a strange man who Robinson remembered as being dark in complexion and with a flat nose; and the two men had wanted to take Robinson to Jos where they claimed he would continue with his education on scholarship.
Having left school after herdsmen attacked his village of Gweda Mallam in Numan, Robinson’s mother, felt she could trust her cousin, so she accepted and give her son to him, to school in Jos.
But she did not get the consent of Robinson’s father who at the time was also in Jos undergoing a Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) training.
Checks revealed that the following day, Robinson was handed over to the stranger, who was supposedly taking him to a missionary school in Jos, but the stranger ended up taking the boy to Divine Elpidi Restoration Foundation Orphanage, Area 1, Masaka.
Explaining how the boy was rescued, Chairman of Bwatiye, Mr. Ngurdi, said three men enquired about Robinson’s parentage and discovered that his parents were alive, so they came and reported to him.
“I went with the three men to the orphanage and we sought to speak with the boy but the owners of the home denied us access to him. We decided to go to the police to report because based on what the boy narrated to our people, we suspected child trafficking,” Ngurdi said.
Ngurdi added that “when the police called the woman to bring the child to the station, she did not do so, rather, she came alone and was asked to bring the boy the following day.
“She failed to bring the boy to the station, so the police went there to arrest her, but she was not around. So they arrested a man there who claimed he was a pastor.
“The police and the staff of the orphanage almost fought, as they resisted arrest and refuse to release the boy to them.
“However, the boy was later released to them. The mother of the boy, who was then called to come and pick up her son in Masaka, regretted trusting her cousin, but thanked God for protecting her only child”.
Narrating his ordeal, the vicitim said “I was always hungry at the orphanage and I would cry all day long for my mother. I was missing my mother and I did not want to stay. The food they used to serve us was not sweet,”
He said they were fed with akamu and bread every day and that he took bathe once a day for close to two months that he lived at the orphanage.
He also said he was attending school at the orphanage but he did not like the school because they were not taught well.
The boy adds: “They often beat us up mercilessly. I remember I was flogged with a horsewhip by mummy Grace, the owner of the orphanage, and I was wounded in the knee.”
Nevertheless, it was gathered that Tutu was still deceiving his cousin in Numan that Robinson was in school in Jos, as he earlier told the mother.
She explained that she became vulnerable the moment she and her son Robinson were displaced from their village by herdsmen, adding that if she was still at Gweda Mallam, he would not have been taken to the orphanage.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, the Director, Social Welfare Department in Karu, Mr. Mustapha Isa, said he was aware of the case and confirmed that the boy was registered in the orphanage.
Isa said he did not suspect the orphanage of engaging in child trafficking, adding that it was not unusual for parents to leave their children in such homes.
He, however, blamed the parents of the child for negligence and the director of the orphanage for failing to carry out background check on the man who brought the child to the orphanage.

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