Joshua Joseph, a 7-year-old boy declared missing by his parents in Ijebu-Ode area of Ogun State in 2017, has been found with one Blessing Ozor who reportedly paid N1.05m for his ‘adoption’.
The adopted mother of the boy renamed Chisom, said she paid N1.05m to a level-13 civil servant in the Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs identified as Ifeoma Joy. Speaking at the state police headquarters where the boy was handed over to his parents, Ogun State Commissioner of Police Bashir Makama said the boy was found after officers from the command carried out a painstaking investigation.
The staff of Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs accused of collecting over N1m from the boy’s adopted mother and forging adoption documents from the Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs, was linked to a three-member syndicate which specialised in stealing and selling children. Other members of the gang include Rita and Angela and it was learnt they are serving time in prisons at Edo and Ondo states.
“Joy is working at the Ministry of Women Affairs in Anambra State. She used the opportunity to arrange buyers for stolen children.
“In the cause of looking for her, she got transferred to four local government councils within one month in order to evade arrest.
“Our findings showed that eight children had been stolen by this syndicate from Ogun State and four had been recovered.
“One of the stolen children was found when the people, who adopted him, saw the boy’s picture on the pages of newspapers and returned him” Ogun state police PRO Abimbola Oyeyemi said.
However Joy on her own part insisted that she did nothing wrong but only helped out a sister in fellowship.
She said, “I never did such a thing. I know the woman, who brought this boy, as a worker at the Peace Sisters’ Home.
“So, when my sister in fellowship (Ozor) came up with the idea of adopting a child, I called the other woman to help us get a boy and I gave Rita my sister’s particulars. When she finished with the particulars, she now came with this boy. I never knew the boy was stolen.”
Recounting how she made the payment to alleged member of child-trafficking gang, Ozor said she paid N150,000 for processing of the adoption papers and additional N900,000 when the process was completed.
“I am just a victim of circumstances by my foolishness. I went to a sister in our fellowship, who had adopted a child before, because I have two daughters already but I had a feeling for a son; my last daughter is 24 years old.
“I went through Rita because she and her husband had adopted a child before and they led me to this woman, Joy. I believed that everything was okay because she made me believe that she runs the Peace Sisters Home” she said.