Lagos police rescue children used for begging
The Lagos State Police Command has rescued 11 children used for begging by a church in Ikorodu.
A female “evangelist” with the church has been arrested and is being interrogated at the Police Headquarters, Ikeja.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, who paraded the suspect yesterday, said the lid was made open when two of the under-aged children were seen begging for alms.
Owoseni said detectives, after interviewing the children, stormed the church premises, where 11 other children were rescued and one adult, Lois Antinso, arrested.
He noted that the church was being investigated to know its involvement in using the children for slavery.
The suspect, Antinso, explained: “I am attached to the church. I am an evangelist in the church. We run an orphanage/less-privilege home at Agbede Road, before Kristo, opposite Osuolale, Elejaro in Ikorodu.
“We care for the poor, needy, orphan, widow, destitute and abandoned. All supports are paid to the church’s account.
“I was shocked when the Bishop of the church came to the Police to deny me. We go out three times a month to beg for assistance.
“It is not as if I leave the children to go on their own, I am saying that the children are too small to speak.
“They were interrogated by the Police and they started talking as if I allowed them to go alone. The day I was arrested, I was taking two of the children, one nine years old and the other 10, to the bank to teach them how to use ATM. It was not as if I took them out for begging.”
One of the children, simply identified as Nnoso, said: “We were begging when the Police picked us. We used to go for begging three times a week.
“People used to give us alms, food items, clothes, shoes and money. We used to hand over the things to aunty. Aunty loves us.
“I came to Lagos in company with one of my aunties. She took me to the church and handed me over to the aunty in the church.
“My aunty in the church warned that whenever my mother called from the village, I should tell her that I was alright and that I must not tell her that I am in the church.
“Each time my mummy called, I used to tell her that I was in my real aunty that brought me from Imo State to Lagos house.”