The pregnant girls whose age bracket was given as 16 and 25 were relocated from the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour unit of the Ogun State Police Command to a children’s home named, Stella Obasanjo’s Children House in Abeokuta, Ogun State where they are to be rehabilitation and reconnected to their families. Information available to ENCOMIUM Weekly has at that the pregnant girls would undergo medical examination at the state hospital in Abeokuta.
Meanwhile, the place where the illegal factory was uncovered, 9, Sebanjo Crescent, Akute, Ogun State, a residential building has been sealed off by the police. A house owner who ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke to on Saturday, March 29, 2014, under condition of anonymity said once the arrest was carried out, the house had been under lock, “Because of the location of the house, it’s difficult to observe something of that nature was going on there. There are bushes around the place which prevented other house owners to suspect anything heinous was happening there. We were not aware of any baby factory there until the police moved in. The street has been labelled by the police a hideout for illegal activities. Remember last year, an orphanage owner was arrested for child molestation.”
The Ogun baby factory was busted by the police through a tip off on Friday, March 21, 2014, rescuing eight pregnant girls and the operator of the centre, 39 years old Angela Chigoeze, who claimed to be operating a herbal clinic. She has since admitted to selling babies for N200,000 and N300,000.
She confessed to the police that she sold babies mostly to those who cannot give birth. “If they give birth, I will sell the child for N300,000. I sell to women who cannot give birth.”
Also in her revelation, Angela claimed the pregnant girls were compensated with N20,000 or more after delivery. She confessed those who buy the babies don’t do that for rituals rather it’s because they are really in need of the baby. She added, her motive was to help the pregnant girls and those who are battling childlessness.
Chigoeze said she gave those girls in her custody ante-natal care through a nurse who was contracted to cater for them. The nurse was also responsible for helping the girls during delivery.
Baby factory syndicates are gaining ground in Nigeria. They keep young girls who are pregnant to produce babies and then sell them to desperate buyers, who are childless at outrageous amount. Operators usually scout for ladies with unwanted pregnancies and lure them to their herbal clinic and after delivery they are compensated.
Patrons of these syndicates according to investigation are wealthy couples who are childless. Some operators have been arrested by the police at different centres around Nigeria. Recently, a medical doctor in Imo State was nabbed for operating a baby factory. About 16 girls were set free by the police. Also men of the State Security Service (SSS) uncovered a child factory at Umuaka and Umuguma, Owerri West, Imo State.
The police have also busted few baby factories in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Early this year, another 24 suspects were arrested in Ilu Titun in Okitipupa, Ondo State by the Nigerian Immigration Service.
– FOLUSO SAMUEL