By Chioma Okezie-Okeh
Three years ago, when the then 16-year-old Victoria Eze realised that she was pregnant, her mother was determined to conceal the pregnancy. She warned the teenager to keep quiet, noting that the family especially the father, could not bear the shame that would come with the development.
According to police investigations, both mother and daughter opted to sell the child at birth and share the proceeds. Now, at 19 years, and a student of Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Victoria Eze says she wants her child back. And immediately too!
In a petition addressed to the Inspector General of Police, she alleged that she was a victim of child traffickers who lured her into dispensing with her newly born child at birth.
Luckily operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team, who were assigned to investigate the matter, were able to track down the midwife, Chinyere Eze who owns and runs a private maternity home in Abuja. She admitted that she was the one who sold the child to a couple based in Abuja.
She led the operatives to recover the boy from the woman who allegedly bought him at birth.
Why I sold my baby
During interrogation, Victoria initially alleged that she was deceived into selling her child. But upon further interrogation, she altered her story and later admitted that they chose to get rid of the baby but never knew that it was forever.
She claimed that her mother got to know about the pregnancy and advised her to keep the information away from her father, who is a leader in the church. When she was due to deliver, her mother took her to a private maternity home where she was delivered of a bouncing baby boy in August 2019.
Mother and daughter agreed that the baby should be kept in a good orphanage home. They also agreed that the girl would be paid in order to raise money that would be used to pay her bills. It was gathered, however, that on getting to the agreed home, they were told that the owner had travelled. They thereafter pleaded with the midwife, who was on ground, to find a solution as they could not even afford to pay the bill and that Victoria would be disowned by the father if he should hear about the child that was born out of wedlock.
The teenager who allegedly impregnated Victoria had already denied being responsible, and had refused to take responsibility for the newborn.
The desperate mother and daughter then opted for the option which Chinyere, the midwife gave. The reporter learnt that Chinyere suggested that the child should be sold to anyone that had cash. She called her neighbour whose sister was unable to bear a child because of a medical condition. The woman was also based in Abuja.
The lady, a middle-aged woman simply identified as Nnenna rushed to the clinic five days after birth and was alleged to have given the midwife, N185,000 to procure the baby.
The midwife, after deducting the money to allegedly offset the bill that had accumulated, gave Victoria and her mother N60,000 for the child.
To ensure that there would be no issue in future, the midwife contracted a lawyer and paid him to legalise the whole process. The lawyer drafted an agreement letter stating that Victoria and her mother willingly handed over the baby to the new mother, Nnenna.
When she was arrested, Nnenna provided the document to back up what she did. But further investigation revealed that the lawyer, after collecting about N170,000 legal fees, did not perfect the process.
Victoria, who was at the police station in company with her mother, insisted that she was deceived into selling her child. Now, she desperately wants her baby back. Her mother also claimed that she was made to believe that her grandson was kept in an orphanage, pending when they would have enough money to take him home.
As at press time, the boy was still kept in another orphanage home in Abuja pending when a competent court would prove that Victoria was not part of a syndicate that pays young girls to get pregnant and sell their children to the highest bidder.
I still want him –Nnenna
According to our police source, after both parties were released on bail, Victoria and her mother had not been calling to check on the welfare of the child. “It is unfortunate that this matter turned out like this. The boy is well taken care of by Nnenna and she still comes around seeking access to see the boy. Victoria, who is a student, has never called us and does not care. The law must take its course and desperate couples should know that selling and buying a child is a crime.
The woman, Nnenna lamented that she had made several efforts to adopt a child from government but that the list of families on the awaiting list is too much.
“We asked Victoria if her father was now aware of the child and she said no. Her mother claimed that they would take care of the child without the knowledge of the father.
“We had a similar case when a stolen girl child was traced to United Kingdom where the couple was based. The couple went through the adoption process in Nigeria without confirming the true source of the child. They were made to believe by the orphanage home that the girl was abandoned by an unknown mother at birth.
“Because it was established that the girl was snatched from her parents five years ago, they had to bring her back. You need to see how clean and well fed the girl looks. Her real parents are petty traders who could barely feed the rest of their children properly.
“The UK based couple even opted to be the child’s legal guardian and continue training her abroad but the family members refused. The last time they brought her to the office, the girl was looking tattered and dirty. I felt bad for the child who might not even get proper education but what can one do. The law is clear: abduction is a crime no matter who is involved.”