Parents Use Their Son As Collateral To Obtain N8,000 Loan In Lagos State

Child trafficking is becoming too much in Nigeria especially in the most advanced city of the country, Lagos State. When Lagos based parents gave away their son as collateral for a loan of N8,000 they most likely did not know that they will not get him back after two months as agreed or that a series of other child trafficking activities will be uncovered in their efforts to find their son.

The parents of 15-year-old Ajala samuel gave him away to a Lagos trader, whose name was given as Iya Meta, for two months, in exchange for N8,000 needed to meet some urgent family needs.
However, four months after, Ajala's parents are yet to set eyes on him, neither do they know where he is. Punch Metro gathered that Iya Meta allegedly gave Samuel to some other traders on the Lagos Island for a fee of N72,000 and they in turn gave him to another family.

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In the process of getting their son back, Ajala's parents allege that two policewomen from the Ijora Badia division, Titi and Funmilayo, told them to refund the N72,000 paid to Iya Meta for Samuel, else they will not see their son until October 2017 when the fee paid for his service will expire. Ajala's parents decided to sell their son after the family encountered crisis and needed some money to get out of it.

Ajala's stepfather, Idowu Isiaka, 39, lost his job in June 2016. His wife, Ajala's mother had surgery within that perios and they need funds for her treatment. To make ends meet, Idowu borrowed a motorcycle and began to use it for business but he later had an accident with it and broke a man's leg. The bike was seized and he was mandated to foot the medical bills for his victim. When things came to a head, they decided to loan money and use their son as collateral.

Speaking to Punch Metro, Idowu said:

“I worked as a security guard for a traditional ruler. When a banner displaying the man’s picture was stolen, I was put in a police cell for a week before I was released and told that I had lost my job. At that time, Ajala’s mother just had a surgery and she needed money for medications. I borrowed a motorcycle from a friend and started using it to work. Later, I had an accident with the motorcycle and broke a man’s leg. The motorcycle was seized from me and I was asked to raise money for the victim’s treatment.

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“I called my wife and told her that we needed to raise money by all means. I told her about Iya Meta, who lived in the community and always said she needed teenagers to work for her. We agreed to take Ajala (Samuel) to her so we could raise some money."

He revealed that the agreement was that Ajala would work for Iya Meta for two months and N8,000 was paid to his family. However, the Kwara state indigene said that after two months, he was surprised that Samuel did not return home as agreed. He said he went to Iya Meta’s house in the Ijora Badia area and discovered she had packed out. He phoned her but she claimed she was in Seme in Benin Republic on a business trip and Ajala was with her there. She said she would give Ajala the phone when she arrived home so they could speak with him but she didn't call back.

"The following day, I called her and she told me that she had actually lied to me. She said the boy was with some people whom she had problem with. She told me the case was at the Ijora Badia Police Station and one officer Titi would tell us where the child was," he said.

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Isiaka explained that he went to the station with his wife and officer Titi told them that they had to pay N72,000 before the boy would be released. She explained that that was the amount paid to Iya Meta for Ajala's service and failure to pay it will mean that Ajala will not return home till October. Iya Meta denied collecting any money for Samuel and accused the policewomen of conniving with some women against her.

She said, "Prior to Ajala’s coming to my house, I had met three women –Rukky, Iya Ibeji and Eniketa. They claimed that they were textile dealers on the Lagos Island and they needed young boys and girls to work for them. At that time, two of my cousins came from the village to work in Lagos. I handed over the two girls to the women. They gave me N80,000 as advance payment for their service. It was a few weeks later that Ajala’s parents brought him and I gave them N8,000. The boy had barely spent a month when he attempted to escape. He told me that his parents had instructed him to run away after getting the money from me. I decided to send him to the three women so he could work with them. They didn’t give me anything."

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She said that some days later, she got a call from one of the girls, claiming that she had been taken to a pepper seller who maltreated her. Iya Meta said  she quickly helped the girl escape and return to the village and it was only then that it dawned on her that the children were being trafficked by the women. Subsequently, she sent a soldier to arrest the women when they will not pick her call to return the remaining children she placed in their care.

The husband of one of the women was caught but Iya Meta claims to discover later that the soldier had become compromised so she took the case to the police at the Adeniji Adele and Ijora Badia divisions and a few weeks later, she met the three women at the Ijora Badia police Division. "The women told the police that they paid money for the children and they would not release them until their payments expired. I told the police it was not true and that I didn’t collect anything for Samuel. They locked me up in the cell for a day. Officer Titi said I must pay N72,000 before they would release Ajala and my cousin, Amina, failing which the children would not be released till October, 2017,” she added.

The three women, denied that Iya Meta handed the children over to them but Rukky later claimed that Ajala was in the care of someone called Idowu and that it was Iya Meta who handed the boy over. She reveale dthat she had the contact for Idowu.

"She collected money from Idowu for the boy to work with her. She collected N45,000 and later N28,500 for the boy. I have nothing to do with the case. Iya Meta collected money for the boy’s service and the contract will not end until December," Rukky said. Meanwhile, Iya Meta has denied knowledge of any Idow, claiming there's no one by that name and that she gave Ajala to Rukky, the leader of the group.

The Director of the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender, Mrs. Olubukola Salami, said the agency was working with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other related Matters, to ensure that the victim was rescued.

She said, “Child abuse and child labour in any form is unacceptable in Lagos State.  Being impoverished is no excuse to use children as a bargaining chip.  The OPD, in collaboration with NAPTIP, is looking into this matter as a human trafficking case and all parties involved will be brought to book after the rescue of the boy is effected.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the command was investigating a case of “a woman who sold her child into trafficking.” and denied the allegations against the policewomen.

Photo Credit: Nick Hagen
Parents Use Their Son As Collateral To Obtain N8,000 Loan In Lagos State Parents Use Their Son As Collateral To Obtain N8,000 Loan In Lagos State Reviewed by Exlink Lodge on Thursday, April 27, 2017 Rating: 5

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