E G W U A G H A A M A R A C H U K W U reports how a 13-year-old boy who was sold into slavery, reunited with his family, three years after
Fate played out on young Daniel Nweze, who was sold to a foreigner from a community in Mbaise, Imo state, in 2015, at the age of 10 years.
Daniel, now 13 years old from Umuezeoka, Ezza North local government area of Ebonyi state, was sold and resold in Imo state but was yesterday recovered by the Ebonyi state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in collaboration with National Agency for Prohibition and Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP).
Daniel taken away from home Nweze in 2015 was taken away by a man from his community identified as Amaechi Ukwa, simply identified as Friday, to Imo state alongside his mother, Ngozi and two siblings, Elochukwu and Wisdom.
Daniel is the oldest child of the family.
His father died in 1999 and things became tough for the family.
Ukwa capitalized on the poor condition of the family and betrayed Ngozi, Daniel’s mother.
He took Ngozi and the children to Imo state where they were abandoned.
On their way to Owerri, Imo state capital, a woman identified as Madam Pepe was already waiting to buy one of the children.
She bought Daniel and resold him to a man simply identified as Solo, who was looking for a male child.
Solo bought Daniel at N340,000.
Celebrations, attempts to change boy’s name They organized a party and renamed the boy Jah Bu Ike.
But Daniel rejected the name and told them that he cannot bear that name, that he will continue to bear his real name.
Solo then raised alarm and started calling Madam Pepe who sold the boy to him, asking why she sold an old man to her.
He then told the woman to immediately come and take the boy, that he can’t accept such a mature boy.
This was happening in the night when they finished the party.
Then very early in the morning, the woman arrived and argument ensued between them.
Solo and Madam Pepe entered into serious argument over the N340,000 the woman bought the boy.
The man was insisting that the woman must refund him the money, in the process Daniel heard it and ran into a police patrol team that was close to the place and narrated the matter to them.
The police team went there and the woman and the man were still arguing over the refund of the N340,000.
The police team arrested them and released them after one week.
After the release, Solo escaped from Imo to Cotonu, Benin Republic.
My Ordeal Narrating his ordeal, Daniel said “my mother took me from Ebonyi to Imo state.
She gave me and my siblings to one woman and since that day, we have not seen her again.
The woman took us to another man and said I am the man’s child.
One day, he called me Jah Bu Ike and I told him that my name is not that name, that I remain Daniel Nweze.
“I was not schooling before I left for Imo.
It was in Imo state that I started schooling.
The man was taking good care of me.
He had girl children and I was the only male child.
I didn’t know that I was sold to him.
I am in School and I am in Primary four.
The name of my school is Great Time Nursery and Primary School located in Oji, Okigwe”.
In an interview with Daniel’s uncle, Ven.
Silas Nweze, said the boy, his two siblings and mother were taken away from the village on 15th June, 2015 and that since then he has been restless as he has not heard from them except once when Amaechi Ukwa who took them to Imo without his consent told him on phone when he called and said he would not return to the village throughout his lifetime.
Role of policemen “It was on July 2015 that I got a message that policemen from Imo state came to our family with Daniel.
I rushed to Imo state to find out what happened.
When I went to Imo, I saw Daniel in Police custody.
On inquiry, I was told that somebody sold him.
The police told me that a man from a compound close to our house took Daniel, two brothers and their mother on one Eke day to Imo state and then disposed them.
He sold Daniel to one Solo from Mbaise, Imo state, who took him and resold to one Madam Pepe at the rate of N340,000.
“I reported the matter to a family law centre in 2016, Rev.
Abraham Nwali who is incharge of Welfare and I ran to the state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs.
Since then, we have never heard about the mother of Daniel.
“Is only once that we heard from the one who took them to Cotonu and it was in 2015.
One Amaechi Ukwa was the one who took them to Imo state.
It was only once that we heard from Amaechi and when we called, Amaechi told us that he will never step into the community again that he is now residing at Cotonu.
He told us that he will never come to our place again that we should forget about him.
He told the family that they should send his wife and the only child he has back to the woman’s family.
“I reported the matter to our traditional ruler and family law centre in Abakaliki.
Our traditional ruler and the entire community are aware of this matter.
Daniel, the two siblings and mother were taken away from the village on 15th June, 2015.
Then on July, the information came to me and I took up the matter and reporter to the traditional ruler and the entire community”, he said.
Receiving Daniel, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs.
Rebecca Ogbuewu, said the journey to the recovery of the boy was hectic and thanked God for the successful recovery.
She disclosed that since Daniel’s uncle, Nweze reported the matter to her office, she has been battling to ensure that he was released.