The Lagos State Police Command has verified the arrest of four members of a syndicate that reportedly specialised in jeopardising the lives of juvenile beggars in order to solicit alms from state residents.
PUNCH A good Samaritan was on his way to a destination in the Kirikiri neighbourhood of FESTAC, Lagos, when he witnessed one of the suspects using an ointment to rob a girl with a protruding tummy early in the morning.
Following the discovery, the good Samaritan raised the alarm, and the culprit and three accomplices were caught and sent to the FESTAC Police Station for further investigation.Infomation Guide Nigeria
Uchenna Eze, 24, Onyedikachkwu Isiala, 18, Ikechukwu Kingsley, 22, and Smart Alasuomu, 20, are the suspects.
It was discovered that the suspects, along with others still at large, reportedly targeted children aged 11 to 13.
During interrogation, Eze stated that the children were afflicted with illnesses.
“The girls’ parents know that they are in Lagos and used as beggars to get money so that they can be treated or operated on because they are poor. Anybody who knows Abakaliki will know what I am saying. I have a sister like them; I can never do such a thing in my life. There is no one that we give medicine to make their stomach swell. But we normally treat them.
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“I have been doing this business since December 2020. The children used to see their families; one of them still went to see her parents last year, while the other girl returned this July. I can’t say the period these girls have been begging, but the money raised from the begging is usually deposited in an account controlled by Ngozi Chukwu, who is the owner of the foundation.
“When it is time for the surgery, Dr Ajayi will do it. He has operated on one patient and the boy is now in the village. She (Chukwu) will soon land anytime soon; she left Lagos last month for the village. She heard her mother fell sick and went there to stay with her.”
PUNCH Metro learned that Ajayi had avoided a police invitation to be questioned about the incident.
SP Benjamin Hundeyin, state police public relations officer, confirmed the arrest of the accused and stated that efforts were on to question the doctor.
He said, “A few days that the children spent with the police, their stomachs came down. So, it was something that they (victims) were allegedly given regularly that is making their stomach protrude. So, the more the protruded stomach shines with what they use in robbing it, the more people will believe that the children have a very bad condition.
“The doctor has been avoiding police invitations. Each time the police go to the hospital, he is not always around, and when the police call his phone, he keeps saying he is busy and will come. But he has not come. This shows there is foul play. The suspects are in custody. Investigation is ongoing.”Jamb Result
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