Increased cases of child theft have been reported in Akwa Ibom State, thus giving most residents of the state a sleepless night.
Some callers in XL 106.9 FM, Uyo on Reports from your community on Thursday complained of the increasing rate of child theft in their communities.
From some communities in Uyo to Ibesikpo Asutan local government areas, among others, the callers reported that some unsuspected gunmen usually walk into the houses of people in the night and allegedly make away with their victims.
“Up till now, these children have not been seen nor has anybody heard anything about their whereabouts,” a caller lamented.
Another said: “It appears the child thieves trafficked the children for ritual killings or any other illegal deals.”
According to the radio callers, “the unsuspected, but dubious people knock on the doors of their victims and cart away mostly children of the less privileged.”
“I want the police to investigate the matter with a view to bringing relief to the affected parents. I also want the police to carry out surveillance in Akwa Ibom communities to put paid to the sad incident plaguing our communities,” another opined.
Straightnews learned that “The perturbing incident has caused trauma to the affected parents as well as make them speak in hushed voices for fear of their lives and property.
“While some neighbours of the victims sympathise with them, the affected fail to report such unfortunate incident to the law enforcement officers to avoid them spending much money or wasting time in trying to unravel the culprits.”
Responding to an inquiry by Straightnews on the incident, SP Diko MacDon, the state Police-Public Relations Officer, said: “I have informed the Commissioner of Police. He is a pragmatic and proactive leader. Immediate action is being taken to stem the tide.”
The Akwa Ibom State, Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, who is the 29th in the rung of commissioners posted to the state, has officially resumed duty.
MacDon admonished “However, the people have to be more vigilant and committed to the course of keeping an eye on their children while reporting suspicions elements timely.”
Wikipedia defines Child abduction or child theft as the unauthorized removal of a minor from the custody of the child’s natural parents or legally appointed guardians.
In 2003, Nigeria adopted the Child Rights Act to domesticate the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Although this law was passed at the Federal level, it is only effective if State assemblies including Akwa Ibom.
The Children’s Rights Act 2003 (CRA) was created to serve as legal documentation and protection of Children’s rights and responsibilities in Nigeria.