The United Church of Christ in Nigeria (HEKAN) has condemned the arrest of 40 of its Sunday school children and two teachers who were arrested by personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Kaduna State command.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) had in a statement said its operatives along Kaduna-Zaria route accosted a vehicle with plate number XC 532 ZAR stalked with 44 minors and two adults suspected to be child traffickers.
The occupants of the vehicle according to the statement were accosted and handed over to the police for further investigation.
A statement by the Vice President of the church, Reverend Emmanuel Nama said that the children and teachers coming from Gubuchi in Makarfi LGA were arrested along Ali Akilu road in Kaduna at about 4.30pm on Wednesday evening while on their way to the annual HEKAN National Sunday School Camp holding at the church Headquarters in Kaduna.
He however alleged that the 42 persons arrested were maltreated by the FRSC personnel.
The statement reads: "The children left their homes with the consent of their parents and their resident pastors to attend the annual HEKAN National Sunday school camp.
"The FRSC in its statement earlier said that the children were taken for trafficking and were handed over to the Kaduna State Police Command without confirming from the church authority in spite of all explanation by their teachers on their movement. The children are presently at the Headquarters of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria HEKAN, Katsina road for the Annual Sunday school camp."
The church authority therefore called on the authorities concerned to investigate the matter while it demands a public apology from the FRSC Kaduna state command.
"The church is calling on the general public to disregard the news given by the FRSC saying it arrested a vehicle for overloading along Kaduna-Zaria road, which was later discovered to be occupied by suspected child traffickers with 44 minors, it is false and baseless," the statement added.