Following the consistent menace of human traffickers that has turned children below age 12 into endangered species in the Tudun Wada community in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State, residents are now living in perpetual fear.
The unhealthy development has caused great commotion in the neighborhood where four children have gone missing due to activities of suspected child traffickers.
For 45-year-old Mrs. Rose Abednego, a divorcee and mother of eight, these are certainly not the best of times for her. She is passing through excruciating pains following the disappearance of her children, Panmak Friday, 11, and nine-year-old Nanblip Friday.
The two children have been missing for about three months now without any idea about their whereabouts. This has left the mother and other residents of the area in fear, despair, and total despondency.
Rose reportedly sent the children on July 13, at about 2 pm to buy coco-yam at Tudun Wada park, in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State, for lunch. Since then, the children, who went out with her neighbor’s son, did not return home while the neighbor’s son returned alone late in the evening.
Confused, Rose went to the park that evening, crying and asking passers-by whether any of them sighted her children but nobody responded to her, including the neighbor’s son.
She was left in utter dismay that fateful night, wailing and searching for her children from one house to another without success. Rose visited her husband’s residence in Bukuru, thinking he was the person that picked the children since they were no longer together.
The matter took a bitter dimension when her husband accused her of hiding the children and insisted that she must provide for the children that fateful night. Rose moved to the nearest police station and reported the matter for swift intervention.
When our reporter visited Rose in her apartment at Mado Tourism, Tudun Wada, Jos, three months after the ugly incident, she was still hapless and hopeless, calling on relevant authorities to come to her aid.
Recounting how her children disappeared from the community, she said: “We returned from the farm that fateful day and the children said they wanted to eat cocoyam and I gave them money to go to Tudun Wada park to buy it with palm oil. After some time, they returned without the cocoyam, saying it had finished.
“I told them since cocoyam was not available, they should have brought potato. So, they decided to go back to the park with my neighbor’s son and he came back alone. When I asked, he told me that she don’t know why my children didn’t come back.
“I met some of my neighbors and explained to them and we waited till about 7 pm to see if they would come back. When there was no sign that they were coming home, I started moving around the area, asking people but nobody knew their whereabouts.
“The following morning, I went to Bukuru to find out if it was their father that took the children. He told me to go and bring the children for him, saying that it wasn’t him that took them. I went to our family house to check and they were not there.
“When I noticed that the matter was getting out of control, I decided to go to Tudun Wada police station and report the incident. They kept asking me to come to the station until a day that I was referred to A Division where the matter is currently being handled.”
Rose said she has been having sleepless nights since her children were taken away by unknown persons. She appealed to security agencies to investigate and rescue her children alive.
Similarly, Godfrey Gokum, who is suffering the same fate, said his seven-year-old daughter, Mudimka Gokum, disappeared on May 23, 2022, when she stepped out of a house where she was plaiting her hair.
Gokum said he cannot explain how the incident occurred but described it as surprising. He said: “I was in my shop on Monday, May 23, 2022, while my wife was plaiting her hair in a neighboring house.
“I decided to close the shop at about 7 pm and go home. When my elder son came to the shop and noticed that I had closed, he went back to tell my wife that I had gone home. Unknowingly, my daughter, Mudimka, sneaked out of the shop without the knowledge of my wife.
“When it was time for them to go home, they thought that the baby had walked home to meet me so they all came home and discovered that she was not with me. We started searching from house to house but we couldn’t see her and went to the police station to report the matter.”
Gokum said since then they have not heard about her, while the police have continued to beam their search for her.
However, Plateau State Police Command, on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, arrested two suspected child traffickers in Tudun Wada community, who were about to be lynched by irate youths from the community. The suspects, who gave their names as Dickson Andrew Ali, 27, and Matthew Dakum, 34, both from Tudun Wada, Jos, confessed to having taken away three children, among whom were two boys and one girl.
The state commissioner of police, Bartholomew Onyeka, during a press briefing in Jos, said the suspects confessed that one Jennifer contracted them to be getting children for her to take to an orphanage to attract funding from non-government organisations and the investigation is still going on.”
Meanwhile, “efforts are on to apprehend all the perpetrators and efforts are being put in place to find the missing children” stated Bartholomew while speaking to newsmen.