by Temitayo Famutimi
There was drama at 11, Martins Street, Mushin, Lagos on Thursday as a 15-year-old girl, Mariam Sholuade, attempted to lure her peer, Risi Odunlami (14), from Lagos to Abeokuta in Ogun State.
It was learnt that Odunlami met Sholuade on Wednesday at Mushin around 8pm while she was hawking boiled eggs.
Sholuade had convinced her to secretly leave home in the early hours of Thursday and take up a job as a sales girl at a beer parlour in Abeokuta.
It was gathered that Sholuade promised her new friend a monthly income of N10,000 once she accepted the offer.
Odunlami told SATURDAY PUNCH that though she was not interested in the arrangement, she, however, unconsciously gave Sholuade her residential address.
She said, “When she approached me at Total Filling Station in Mushin on Wednesday night, I didn’t even pay too much attention to what she was saying. But the mistake I made was that I gave her my residential address.
“As soon as she started the talk with me, a middle-aged man who was dark in complexion joined in the discussion. She introduced the man to me as the driver that would take us to Ogun State.
“She instructed me to pack my things overnight and sneak out of the house by 5am.
“She assured me that she would be waiting outside my house together with the driver, who would take us to Abeokuta.”
Odunlami’s mother, Kubura, said Sholuade came to their house as early as 5am to pick her daughter as she had promised on Wednesday.
She said, “When my daughter came home late last night I reprimanded her and she explained to me that she met a girl while she was hawking, who delayed her with a discussion.
“She said the girl of her age asked her to abscond from home. I dismissed it as lies but surprisingly, the girl came as early as 5 am knocking at the main door of our residence.
“When I quizzed her, she told me it was true she wanted to take her to Abeokuta.
“On hearing this, I raised the alarm because I was not sure of the number of persons who came with her to our house. People then started gathering here.”
Kubura said Sholuade confessed that the number of persons she had trafficked from Lagos to Abeokuata totalled 20.
She said, “When the crowd yelled at her and threatened to deal decisively with her, she confessed that she had trafficked 20 girls of her age group to Abeokuta this year.
“She said she had four girls camped in a house in Oshodi and five in Sagamu waiting to be moved to Abeokuta.”
A resident, Nimota Egbeyemi, said she doubted Sholuade’s claim that the girls she was recruiting were being taken to Abeokuta to work in a beer parlour.
When contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, confirmed the incident.
Braide said, “Members of Odunlami’s immediate family alerted the police to the incident. The police immediately swung to action and took the 15-year-old girl in question to the Alakara Police Division for questioning.
“During interrogation, she confessed to the police that she had been recruiting girls to work in Abeokuta for some time now. She gave an address to us, where she said some four girls were being prepared for onward movement to Abeokuta.
“When our men stormed the place, the girls were nowhere to be found. The location also happens to be an Indian hemp smoking joint. The street urchins at the location fled on sighting the police.”
Braide said the matter would be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation.
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