Pregnant girls found at Abia maternity home, sing discordant tunes as police arrest proprietor
From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
The boom in the business of sale of new born babies appear not to be abating as new “baby factories” are springing up all over the country.
Why is it so despite the efforts made by relevant authorities to stem the ugly tide?
According to the Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mr Leye Oyebade, baby factory and child trafficking are societal problems that have been flourishing in most parts of the country, the society must come together to stamp them out.
He said this while parading the proprietor of a medical facility suspected to be a “baby factory.”
His officers arrested the man and five young girls rescued from the facility, situated at the Ogbor Hill area of Aba, Abia State.
He disclosed that most often the girls involved in child trafficking business are compelled or hoodwinked, while at some other times, they agree to it depending on the circumstance of their pregnancy.
He described the act as heinous crime, adding that “some parents indulge their children into it, stating “so we are saying that there must be a change in our attitude to living. Sometimes, you see a woman selling her children, just to make ends meet,” citing the case of a woman who was selling her child for the second time after delivery.
“A child which God gave to her and she sold it, so we need to talk to people to change their level of thinking because this is part of the societal problems we are talking about and the society has to rise against it. If there are no buyers, there would be no person to sell”, the commissioner pointed out.
He said that a child was rescued by his men, having been stolen for over one year, adding that “we were able to rescue the child and reconciled him with the family. I am giving note of warning to people that are still indulging in these activities. There are some cases that you can rather imagine that they don’t happen at all, where a child is stolen; sometimes the parents are even involved. It is crime against humanity, we are not going to accept it, we are going to stamp it out and we are asking members of the public to partner with us and give us relevant information that will assist us in that direction”, he pleaded.
He then announced the arrest of a suspected child trafficking gang allegedly headed by one Mr. Nwokocha, aged 54 years, on August 21.
“I am assuring the peace loving Abians that we are prepared, we are going to do more of community policing, we shall partner with members of the public, especially with the new inauguration of Eminent Peoples Forum. We shall be using this forum to get relevant dependable information from members of the public.
“These have really reduced our response time to distress call and we hope to improve on it, so that all nooks and crannies of Abia will be relatively crime free. I want to encourage all to partner with us, give us information, which we are ready to treat with the confidentiality they deserve. We are covering all the entry and exit points of the state,” he said.
But speaking to newsmen during the parade, Nwokocha, said that he was a businessman from Ugwunagbo, living at Ogbo Hill in Aba, off Umuoba Road and not a child trafficker.
His words: “My wife is the one running the maternity home called Love Maternity Home because she is a midwife. She has been running the business for the past six years and I have not had problem of this nature before.
“As the head of the family, I know that my wife runs this home. The women who come here were brought here by their parents, some of them are married, but not actual marriage, they are involved with men.”
He explained that the time he was arrested, a woman was in labour at the home and his wife was busy conducting the delivery.
“It was for that reason that I was the one that was arrested instead of my wife. When anyone delivers, we take them to social welfare”, he said.
However, all the girls rescued by the police had one story or the other to tell as reasons they were in the home when the police stormed there.
For 24-year-old Mercy Okoronkwo from Alayi in Bende Local Government Area of Abaia State, who is six months pregnant, she came to the home for ulcer treatment when she was arrested.
According to Mercy, her parents are late, and she did not tell the father of her expected child that she was going for ulcer treatment there.
Also Kelechi Sampson, 20 years, who hails from Mgboko Umuanu in Ngwa area of Abia State and had just finished her secondary school, said that her pregnancy has clocked seven months, adding that she has plans to keep the child.
She gave the name of the father of her expected child as Chinedu from Umuahia.
Also 19-year-old Happiness Godwin, said she visited the home to see the proprietor who, she said, is her father’s sister.
She said that she was at the home to take treatment and that the father of her expected child is Chinenye just as 24-year-old Oluibechi Onyeabor from Mgboko Umuanu also claimed that the owner of the home is her mother’s sister.