REV. SISTER ROTS IN JAIL … For buying and selling stolen babies
Pastor’s son on the run for stealing 2 kids in church
Operatives of the Police Intelligence Response Team(IRT) has in its custody, Reverend Sister Geraldine Chime of St Paul Catholic Church, Gwagwalada, Abuja over the theft of four children.
She was alleged to have bought two of the children for the sum of one million from a suspected child trafficker identified as Obiageli Okoro who is based in Anambra. Two others were also bought from another child trafficker, Caleb who is based in Kafanchan, Niger state and is currently on the run.
On their arrest, police sources said they got intelligence on the activities of a syndicate stealing and selling children. One such was Obiageli who is alleged to have stolen and sold several children from Anambra State with the aid of her gang members spread across the state.
The officer in charge of IRT , ACP Abba Kyari subsequently deployed his men to follow the trail of Obiageli. Aided with data generated, the detectives tracked and arrested Obiageli in Bayelsa where she had gone to recruit more members who would help her abduct kids from their parents. After her arrest, she took detectives to the orphanage where she sold two children, Chinonso and Daberechi to Reverend Sister Chime who owns the orphanage home in Abuja.
Obiageli confessed that Chinonso, 7, was abducted sometime in January while Daberechi, 6, was stolen in April from their various homes in Nnokwa, Anambra State. Luckily, Daberechi was still at the orphanage when police stormed the home. Chinonso who had long been given out to one Chigozie Onuzuruike who lives in satellite town, Ojo, Lagos State was rescued. He was rescued from the family who alleged they gave Rev. Sister Chime N700,000 before they were allowed to adopt the boy.
Currently on the wanted list of the police is Nnanna, the son of one of the pastors in Assemblies of God Church, Nnokwa in Anambra State. He was identified by the children as the Uncle who handed them over to an unknown woman.
Excited parents rejoice
Excited and grateful to God , Veronica Anake, the mother of Daberechi recalled that her son went missing in April after a midweek church service. “I live and worship in Assemblies of God Church , Nnokwa, Anambra State. I went to church with him and at his age , he can comfortably find his way home. I was not bothered when I could not find him in church after the service. I assumed that he had gone home till I got back around 8pm and discovered he was not there.
“We ran back to the church and searched for him. We also visited members of the church who he loves visiting. This was when it dawned on my family that what happened to Chinonso might have happened to Daberechi my son. Chinonso, the son of a member of our church went missing since January. We reported to the church and nearest police station who assured us that they will search and find my son, Daberechi. On our own, we were also searching and praying till six months later when we received a call from the police in Abuja that they have found my son.
“We never knew that the police in Abuja were also looking for our children. The police station that we reported the matter only asked us to pray.”
The second parent, Mr James Eze said the family had lost hope of finding their son, Chinonso when they received a call from the police in Abuja.
“I am from Umaji, in Enugu Ezike but I reside in Nnokwa, Anambra State. I am also a member of Assemblies of God church. My son got missing on January 9, 2017. Around 7pm, we discovered that he was not available to eat dinner with the others. We searched for him everywhere that he normally goes to play and discovered that he was not there. We also rushed to Nnewi police station that night and reported that our son was missing. They said we should return after 24 hours. We waited till then and went back to the police station. They took our statement and asked us to check back regularly incase they find him.
“We also informed our church members to pray with us while we tried our best to search for my son. While we were looking for my son, another boy in our church also went missing. We had lost hope till 11 months after when I received a call that police in Abuja found my son. No one believed that the person who stole our son was from the church. I was shocked when my son told me that it was Nnanna the son of our pastor that abducted and sold them for N500,000.
“I cannot believe that it is possible for police to work without asking for money. We did not know that Abuja was also busy looking for our lost sons. It was God who raised them on our behalf when Nnewi police failed us.”
Also with the parents of the stolen children was Rev. Loveday Ukandu , a senior pastor at the Assemblies of God, Nnewi. “ I was sent to escort these our members to Abuja to recover their children. The children that were missing are our children and we have been praying and believing God for such a miracle. I did not believe it till we got to Abuja. They were informed that these children were missing and yet they on their own tracked and found our children. They also traced our numbers and invited us over without asking for a kobo.”
When confronted with the allegation that it was the son of their pastor that abducted the children, Rev. Ukandu said this discovery explains why he disappeared after the second child got missing. “I believe that the same police that found these children and their abductors will find him”, he stated.
I never knew the kids were stolen
At the police station, Rev. Sister Geraldine Chime aged 44 said that she was not aware that paying for a child is a crime. “I am very sorry. I have learnt my lessons ever since the police arrested me.”
On her journey to priesthood, Chime said that she was ordained in far away Rome sometime in 2000. “I am from Oji River in Enugu State. I knew some Reverend sisters based in Rome. They were the ones who assisted me to get my application processed and I was invited to Rome for the ordination. About a year after the ordination , I came back to Nigeria. Seven years ago, I was posted to St Paul Catholic church, Gwagalada. As ministers, we are allowed to engage in any extra curricular activity as long as it will help to better the life of the poor.
“So I was excited when Rev.Fr Godwin Nnadozie suggested that we could establish an orphanage home. We gathered funds and established an orphanage home known as Oblate of the Poor at Gwagalada, Abuja. We registered it at the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja with the consent of the welfare department at Abuja.
“The orphanage was established strictly to help the poor. We welcome children
whose mothers are dead. Normally their fathers will bring them and we will train them till they are of age to hand them over to their fathers. We also have children from very poor homes. They will bring them and promise to send across as much as they can afford to help us take care of them. Majority will abandon their children and run away.”
According to her, the orphanage depends solely on contributions from banks, churches, groups and individuals. “We receive a lot of gifts from individuals, groups, churches and sometimes banks. We do not give those ones out for adoption because we know that the parents will come for them one day. I depend on other orphanages to get children for adoption. Because of the good works that we are doing, a lot of couples rely on us to help them adopt children.
“Because of our standard , some orphanages normally bring their children to us because they do not have customers. There is no way we could know the real source of these children because the people who brought them are owners of orphanages.”
On the four children that landed her in police cell, Rev. Sister Chime said she paid N500,000 for each of them. “Early this year, Obiageli brought two children from Anambra while Caleb brought another two from Kafanchan in Kaduna State. I paid them N500,000 each for the children and gave three of them to waiting parents. I was about to give the fourth one out when Obiageli brought policemen to my orphanage. I was shocked when the police told me that the four of them were stolen from their parents.”
Rev. Chime alleged that she was assured that two of the children were from an orphanage while the other two were from single mothers who wanted to get married. “In January, I traveled to my village in Oji River. Obiageli called me and said that she has a small boy. I asked her to bring the boy to my village. I gave her N500,000 cash.
In May , she called again that she has another boy. I told her to bring the boy to Abuja, which she did. She said that the money was urgently needed to settle the parent of the child who is a single mother. She told me that the mother of the child wanted to get married and did not want her husband to know that she had a child in the past. She also said the woman intended to use the money to buy things for her wedding.”
She admitted to the police that she had given out about 14 children but assured that the process of adoption was legitimate. “I keep in touch with most of the couples who frequently send information concerning the children. I had never had any issue except this. I paid N500, 000 for each of them and gave them out to parents who will pay N750,000 for the adoption. Rev. Fr. Nnadozie is not aware of most of the adoption because he is in far away Gambia on mission. The catholic church is not also aware of the activities of the orphanage.”
The second suspect, Obiageli Okoro aged 35 also denied knowledge that the children were stolen. According to the mother of four, one Chukwuma who is currently on the run contacted her and told her that he has two boys for adoption.
“I am an indigene of Nnewi in Anambra State. I am happily married with four children within the age of 9 and 2. Chukwuma is a pharmacist who used to live in our compound. Sometime in January, he called me and asked if I knew of any reliable orphanage that accepts children for adoption. I remembered that Sister Chime has an orphanage in Abuja.
“I got to know her through my sister-in-law who sent me to her last year. I went to Kaduna and on way back went to visit her in Abuja. It was then that I knew that she owns an orphanage. As soon as Chukwuma contacted me, I told her that I have a boy, Chinonso of about eight years. She asked me to bring him to her village in Oji River as she was at home. I met Chukwuma at Nnewi roundabout where I picked the child and travelled to Oji River. She collected the boy and gave me N500,000 as agreed.
Chukwuma paid me N150, 000 for the transaction and left with the rest.
“Sometime in May, he called me again that he has another child called Daberechi. This time around I took the boy to her orphanage in Abuja and she gave me N100,000 with a promise to pay the rest later. Days later she sent the money to me and I also received N150,000 as my share.
“I went ahead with the business because Chukwuma assured me that it was genuine. I felt that since he has an orphanage, he will not involve himself in child theft.”
She also claimed that she is not aware paying for child is a crime. “I do not know that it is a crime. A lot of orphanages collect big money for adoption. Our own was even very cheap. I am a hairdresser and the money that I am making is not enough to take care of my four children. I used the money to pay school fees and bought plenty of foodstuff for the house. My husband is irresponsible and cannot provide for us.”