…Demands public apology
BY AMOS TAUNA, KADUNA – The United Church of Christ in Nigeria (HEKAN) has described the reported arrest of some child traffickers with about 40 suspected trafficked children, by personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) as sheer falsehood.
The church explained that the 42 people arrested were 40 of its Sunday School pupils and two of their teachers, who were on their way to attend the National Sunday School Camp at the Church’s headquarters in Kaduna.
The FRSC last week Saturday, said it arrested a vehicle for overloading and broken windscreen, which was later discovered to be occupied by suspected child traffickers with minors heading to an unknown destination.
The Head, Media Relations and Strategy (FRSC), Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, explained that the vehicle, a Silver Ford Galaxy with number plate LMU76XA, was travelling from Kano to an undisclosed location on Thursday at 11:55 am, when an FRSC patrol team in Kaduna State flagged down the driver, who refused to stop.
But in its reaction, the United Church of Christ in Nigeria (HEKAN), condemned in strong terms, what it described as the arrest of 40 of its Sunday school pupils and two teachers by personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Kaduna State command while on their way to attend the annual HEKAN National Sunday School Camp at the church Headquarters in Kaduna.
HEKAN in a statement on Friday and signed by the Church’s Vice President, Reverend Emmanuel Nama, said the children left their homes with the consent of their parents and their resident Pastors to attend the annual HEKAN National Sunday school camp.
According to Nama; “The 42 persons were arrested along Ali Akilu Road in Kaduna at about 4;30pm on Wednesday evening and were also been maltreated by the FRSC personnel.
“The FRSC had earlier held a press briefing and snap shots of the children stating that the children were taken for trafficking before handing them over to the Kaduna State Police command without confirming from the church authority despite all explanation by their teachers on their movement.”
Nama also said the children are presently at the Headquarters of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria (HEKAN) Katsina road for the Annual Sundayschool camp.
The church authority therefore called on the authorities concerned to investigate the matter just as it demanded a public apology from the FRSC, Kaduna State Command.
He further states; “The church is calling on the general public to disregard the news given by the FRSC Kaduna command, which says it arrested a vehicle for overloading along Kaduna-Zaria road, which was later discovered to be occupied by suspected child traffickers with 44 minors.
“We are stating categorically that, the story painted by FRSC is false and baseless. Those arrested are genuine members of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria (HEKAN), DCC Gubuchi in Makarfi Local Government Area of Kaduna state.”