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Sokoto caregiver turns to human trafficker, sells 28 children including his own sons

Malam Bala Abubakar, once known as a source of support for orphans in Sokoto State, has been arrested in connection with the abduction and trafficking of children, including six of his own biological sons.

The Sokoto State Police Command reports that Abubakar sold 28 children to Elizabeth Oja and Kulu Dogonyaro, both residents of Abuja, for prices ranging from N150,000 to N250,000.

Abubakar, a resident of Tudun Wada in Sokoto LGA, operated an organization purportedly to support orphans, attracting many widows seeking help for their children.

A local resident, who requested anonymity, expressed shock upon learning about Abubakar’s involvement in child trafficking.

“Bala ran an organization that catered to orphans, seeking support from politicians and wealthy individuals. Many widows turned to him for help with their children,” the resident said. “No one suspected his involvement in trafficking until the police paraded him with other suspects. We hope the police will continue their investigation to rescue all the victims.”

Abubakar’s criminal activities came to light on April 27, 2024, when the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command arrested Mrs. Dogonyaro and Oja. The suspects were traveling with five children, including a two-week-old baby, whose unusual feeding method—powdered milk instead of breastfeeding—raised suspicions among other passengers. The driver reported the duo to the nearest police station upon reaching Abuja.

At the station, the suspects claimed the children were willingly given to them by their parents in Sokoto to be handed over to an NGO in Abuja for their upkeep and education. Further investigation revealed that Mrs. Dogonyaro had lived in Sokoto for over 20 years, and the mothers of the five rescued children, all widows, had been deceived into parting with their children under the pretense of better care in Abuja. Other children were abducted on their way to Islamic school.

The police investigation also led to the rescue of 15 more children from various states and the arrest of two additional suspects, all of whom claimed to have received the children through Mrs. Dogonyaro. In total, 20 rescued children have been placed in the care of the Sokoto State orphanage, and 10 suspects have been arrested.

Abubakar, in an interview, denied the allegations, asserting that the children were willingly submitted by their mothers for a better life. “I am not a trafficker or a kidnapper. The children were given to me by their mothers for proper care,” he said. Abubakar admitted handing over his six biological children to Mrs. Dogonyaro but insisted he did not receive any payment.

Mrs. Elizabeth Oja also claimed ignorance of the children’s abduction, stating, “I have known Kulu Dogonyaro for over 20 years. She asked me to help take the five children to Abuja because Bala brought many children to her. She told me they were orphans and would be taken to an organization for proper care.”

The investigation continues as authorities work to bring justice to the victims and hold those involved accountable.

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Written by Olusesan Oba

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