PUNCH Metro learnt that Okonkwo was arrested on Wednesday after residents gave the police a tip-off that some teenage schoolgirls were being taken to a hotel in the area – Sunderland Hotel – for sex during school hours.
Our correspondents gathered that Okonkwo allegedly worked with a syndicate which usually went to the school to lure the victims out during school hours.
The girls reportedly always removed their school uniforms and put on clothes provided by the syndicate.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Okonkwo also allegedly posed as a nurse to deceive her victims.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who paraded the suspect, said investigation was ongoing into the matter.
He said, “Detectives arrested her on Wednesday. Her mode of operation is to target some secondary schools in the area. She, together with her cohorts, would go to the schools and get the girls to a hotel. The hotel is located in Ikate, Surulere. She would change their clothes and use them as sex slaves.
“She would keep the girls in the hotel until the school closing time and make them change back into their uniforms. Investigation is still ongoing, and we will extend it to the hotel and the schools which are involved. We want to see whether there is connivance between the suspect and the school authorities.”
Speaking with PUNCH Metro, Okonkwo, a mother of two, said she was based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where she worked as a trader.
She added that she sometimes came to Lagos to work as a sex worker.
Okonkwo, however, denied knowing any of the schoolgirls, saying she only worked in the hotel as a commercial sex worker to raise money for her business in Port Harcourt.
She said, “I am a widow with two children. They are both in a boarding school in Port Harcourt. I live in Port Harcourt, but I sometimes come to Lagos to sleep with men at the hotel. I came to Lagos to find a means of livelihood.
“I use Sunderland Hotel in Surulere. When I was arrested by the police, I saw three girls, probably aged 10 or 12, who claimed I usually picked them from school to the hotel.
“I don’t know any of them. In fact, let the police visit the hotel for investigation. I have never seen them before. I meet men for sex and they give me money. I use the money to buy clothes and take them to Port Harcourt to sell. I have been in this job for a long time. I am a familiar face at the hotel. I do this for a living.”