Baby merchants in Abia State will stop at nothing in getting their articles of trade for ready buyers who are scanning the state for babies to buy. In the past two months, several arrests have been made, victims rescued and suspects charged to court for their involvement in the crime.
Police crackdown does not seem enough deterrent. Instead, they are devising new and masterful methods. Even, not an imbecile or mentally challenged women are spared, as long as she can get pregnant and bear a child. In the latter case, the offspring is a ready market for these merchants. The business is all about a baby, no matter the complexion – in fact, different complexions have their varying prices, and the demands are always there.
The most recent is the case of a 17-year-old female imbecile, Adaku Okpechi. The teenager had gone to market on April 4, 2013, with her one and half year-old baby girl, named Favour. She went back home without the child. When her parents’ efforts to trace the child proved abortive, they reported the matter to the police.
The Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Usman Tilli, who stated this yesterday while parading some alleged baby factory owners, vowed to end crime and criminality in the state. He warned them to look for their business elsewhere and no longer in Abia.
The commissioner, who stated this at the Bende road police headquarters in Umuahia, said that his men swung into action and arrested five suspects, Ugochukwu Nwosu, 21, male; Emmanuel Anyanwu, 21, male; Nwamaka Okorie, 42, female on wheelchair (crippled); her relation, Florence Ukandu, 31, one-legged on crutches, and Rhoda Nwokocha, 21, female. The suspects, according to the police, confessed to have conspired to sell the baby girl for N350,000 on May 2, 2013.
But Nwamaka, who spoke to Saturday Sun later, said she went for genuine adoption and did not know that the child was stolen. She also said it was, in fact, she that reported the matter to the police when she sensed that there was something funny in the transaction. “I reported to the police but I was subsequently detained with my sister and we were brought here. I am Innocent of all the allegations, “ she said.
Baby Favour was seen with one Adaeze Nkemdirim, a 27-year-old housewife and native of Umuomia in Ntigha, Isiala Ngwa South LGA, who is residing with her husband at Adaelu Osisioma Ngwa area of Aba. Incidentally, Adaeze Nkemdirim was the same person that was arrested at Osisioma in connection with another child trafficking offence of selling two new born babies of her two maid servants, Gift Ohuonu, 18 years and Eberechi Achi, 18 years for N400,000 each. It was also in her custody that a pregnant SS3 female student of a secondary school from Imo State, Onyedikachi Okere, was waiting for delivery before she was rescued. Onyedikachi had said that she approached Adaeze to help her in her pregnant state and she promised to do so.
Speaking to newsmen while she was being paraded, Adaeze Nkemdirim denied being a child trafficker, claiming that she sells clothes. But both Gift and Eberechi told journalists that she was the one that collected their children from them and that they still did not know where the children are.
The Police Commissioner also told newsmen that in the course of recovering baby Favour from Adaeze Nkemdirim, his men raided another baby factory called Daughters of Zion Rehabilitation and/ Motherless Babies and Care Centre at Amaoji Ukwu Obingwa, owned by one Ngozi Ukaonu. There, nine pregnant teenage girls were rescued. Ngozi Ukaonu, who protested her arrest before the newsmen, said she was running a legal motherless babies’ home registered by the state. She could not give response to whether part of her business consisted in keeping teenage pregnant girls.
The names of the girls are Blessing Amadi, Amarachi Onwukwe, Amarachi Udoka, Chidinma Onukafor, Favour Dike, Precious Emmanuel, Eziuche Michael, Chinasa Chukwuka, Chidera Ogbonna and Chinyere Agbakuru.
The police boss said that three babies put out for sale were recovered from the home and the prime suspect, Ebere Nkemdirim escaped.
Baby factory business seems to be wearing an aggressive posture in Abia (God’s Own State) following police and Civil Defence Corps’ recent discoveries. As it is, pregnant girls have become endangered species in Aba as anyone that sees them quickly covets them and fleeces them of their babies to make money.
In the past three months, discoveries made in this sector have amazed Abians in particular and Nigerians in general.