The police in Ogun State have narrated how a seven-year-old boy, Joshua Joseph, who was declared missing two years ago, was found with his ‘adopted mother’, Blessing Ozor, in Anambra.
It was gathered that Ozor allegedly paid N1.05m for Joseph’s ‘adoption’.
Ozor claimed to have paid the N1.05m to a level-13 civil servant in the Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs, Ifeoma Joy, before she could adopt the boy.
Joshua, it was learnt, was declared missing by his parents, who live in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, in 2017, but he was found by men of the state police command in Anambra State.
The Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, gave the details at the state police headquarters, Abeokuta, on Sunday, while handing over Joshua, who had been renamed Chisom by Ozor, to his father. He paraded Ozor and Joy in connection with the incident.
Makama intimated that the boy was found after thorough search and investigations by operatives of the command over the last two years.
The police boss stated that Joshua was stolen in Ijebu-Ode and sold to Ozor.
According to the police boss, two other members of the syndicate, Rita and Angela, were being held in prisons in Edo and Ondo states, respectively, for the same offence.
It was gathered that both Rita and Angela gave information from their prison cells that led to the recovery of the boy and the arrest of Ozor and Joy in Anambra State.
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, accused Joy of collecting over N1m from the acclaimed adopted mother and forged adoption documents from the Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs.
“Joy is working at the Ministry of Women Affairs in Anambra State. She used the opportunity to arrange buyers for stolen children.
“In the course 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.”
Speaking with journalists, Joy denied the allegation against her, saying she was not involved in such an act.
“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.”
In her own words, Ozor said she gave Joy N150,000 for processing of the adoption papers and additional N900,000 when the deal 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. That was why I adopted the boy (Joseph) from her,” she spoke in tears.