The Lagos State Special Offences Court, Alausa, Ikeja, on Wednesday, sentenced a 52-year-old grandmother, Mrs. Jemilat Oseni, to three months imprisonment for “using five underage children to beg for alms”.
Two other women- Mrs. Rainat Ado and Mrs. Zainab Abubakar- were fined N10, 000 each for releasing their children to Oseni for the purpose of alms begging.
A prosecutor from the state’s Ministry of Justice, said the acts were “illegal and a violation of the rights of the children”. The prosecutor, who did not give her name, said, “Four of the children were not hers. “Two belonged to Mrs. Rainat Ado; one belonged to Mrs. Zainat Abubakar; one is her grand child. Only the last is her child.”
It was learnt that Oseni, who is from Osun State, was arrested while begging for alms with the children by officials of the state Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit at Seme Border. The children were put between nine months and 11 years old.
However, both Abubakar and Ado claimed ignorance of what Oseni did with their children. Ado said, “Oseni told me that she wanted to use the children as cover to smuggle some goods from Benin Republic. “She explained that the children would make custom officials at the border to pity her and allow her to go with her goods.”
She added that Oseni usually give her some quantity of rice after the trip to Seme. It was learnt that a worker with the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation saw the woman and the children at Seme and promptly reported the matter to the task force officials. The court also ruled that the five children be kept in custody of WAPA.