By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

42 year old farmer, China Telpesa Solomon Tali from Logo Local Government Area of Benue state, Nigeria, said he attempted selling his eight year old son for 20 million naira to effectively take care of his family.

Tali, who was arrested in the process by the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), FCT Command, stated hardship and hunger forced him to make the decision to take care of five other children at home.

The man who is a farmer and a Tiv by tribe, said his family has been suffering from hunger because of poor cultivation of farm crops.

He noted the soil is not producing like it used to, and making it difficult for the family to feed.

Tali mentioned the yield last year was very poor and can’t effectively take care of his six children.

“When I saw all these challenges around me, I met Pius Aondoakaa, who promised to link me with a buyer that will pay me 20 million naira”.

Speaking on how the culprits were arrested, the commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), FCT Command, Olusola Odumosu, said the 42-year-old Tali was tracked and arrested by the personnel of the command’s intelligence unit on 10th January 2024.
He stated the man engaged the service of Pius Aondoakaa, who was also arrested, to find a buyer for the child – fourth of his six children.
“The FCT Commands’ ardent and astute intelligence personnel in their proactive engagements in January 2024, intercepted a father who conspired with another to trade an eight-year-old boy who he claimed to be his child for the sum of N20 million in the FCT.

“Following a tip-off, the suspects were immediately placed under surveillance. One of the suspects Pius Aondoakaa in a quest for a higher bid rejected the sum of N12 Million and was looking for N20 Million Naira for a ‘He-goat’ meaning a boy
“He also offered a ‘she-goat’ (i.e. girl child) for N15 Million Naira. Pius claimed to have a boy child for sale and that the father of the boy wanted to use the proceeds of the sale to take care of his other children,” he said.
Commandant Odumosu added: “In view of this, the acclaimed father of the boy, Mr. China Telpesa Solomon Tali was lured to Abuja on the 10th of January 2024 by the FCT Intelligence Personnel who posed as a buyer and agreed on the terms to buy and pay the sum of N20 million.

“He was received at a garden with his son by the undercover personnel who posed as the buyer. The transaction was concluded for the sum of twenty million
naira after which officers moved in and arrested the father and his son, Ushafa Chiana Tali. That was how the poor boy was rescued from the ignoble and inhuman conduct of the so-called father.”

Speaking on what awaits mr. Tali and his accomplice, a NAPTIP Senior Intelligence Assistant, Mrs Chinyere Oseafiama, who received them, gave assurance that the case would be thoroughly investigated for appropriate actions.

“We are happy for what the NSCDC has done and we are assuring that NAPTIP will do the needful and get back to the public with a positive report regarding the case,” Oseafiama said.

Speaking on the challenges in the country, Philip Jakpor, the Executive Director, Renevlyn Development Initiative, said “I think the poverty situation in the country is driving many households to the extremes to make ends meet. Many families can’t feed and do not know where the next meal will come from. These sad developments were rare in the past but now rampant and happening in every part of the country. Only an improvement in the economy and the living conditions of Nigerians coupled with sensitization by government will address the issue. In addressing the situation leaders at the grassroots level must be involved.

Speaking on why crops don’t have yield like before, Mr. Bala Gokut, former Director, Desertification Draught and Land Degradation Department in the ministry of environment, said climate change has affected yield and diseases have also affected crops.

“It is very hard for farmers to get seeds these days. Most of them rely on improved seeds, and when they plant those improved seeds for the second or third time, it cannot give them yield like the first time. In a nutshell, the produce declines gradually; and that is the challenge that most farmers are experiencing.

“Also, as population of people increase in a particular area, the land is also reduced. This is because a father who has 9 children will share the land amongst his children who will also share amongst their own children. With that practice, the land owned by an individual is reduced, just as the farm produce.

“Another factor that affects the soil is the use of chemicals which affects the soil and kill micro organisms which give nutrients to the plant. Also, deforestation which causes erosion also affects soil nutrients and reduce yield”.

On how to improve yield, Gokut harped on the need for improved based practices and improved knowledge.

“We need to study the soil and know what to do with it each type of soil and not just adding fertilizer.

“There is need for farmers to work with extension workers and also employ experts to help in that area. There is also need for Afro-forestry, which enables us to plant trees and crops in between trees.”

Speaking on their activities in addressing climate change, Save the Children International (SCI), Nigeria, Advocacy, Campaign, and Policy Manager/Survive, Ifedilichukwu Innocent, said children suffer more from climate change related challenges

“It is unfortunate that children are always at the receiving end of the challenges posed by climate change, which is largely caused by human activities.

“Currently, this menace has serious effects on child health and wellbeing. As it stands, heat, drought, floods and fires make growing food more difficult and increase risks of nutritional deficiencies in children.”

He added that children’s optimal development occurs with stable families, schools, neighborhoods and communities.

Innocent, further said that the SCI is working with other stakeholders to protect children from harm and help them achieve their full potentials.

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