From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
On the vast land is an isolated bungalow that needs finishing touches. The structure already has occupants who are suspected to have taken advantage of its desolate location to convert it into a baby-making factory.
Located in what is believed to be Obodogba family land in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, three ladies in various stages of pregnancy were recently rescued by the police in the house.
The ladies were held incommunicado, as they had no means of communicating with the outside world once they were camped there. The area is completely alien to the ladies, who claimed that those responsible for the pregnancies promised to formalised all marriage rites after they put to bed.
Police authorities said operatives acted on credible intelligence to uncover the building and the hidden activities of its occupants.
Two male suspects, Promise Ejogu, a 25-year-old native of Abia State, and 29-year-old Aruna Suleiman, who is the security guard of the house and also an Okada rider, were arrested during a raid by the police.
But two other suspects believed to be responsible for having sex with unsuspecting ladies to make them pregnant are still at large.
One of the victims, Goodness, a native of Akwa-Ibom State, told journalists that she was impregnated by her boyfriend, one Prince, who brought her to Delta State.
She said the boy gave her assurances that he would go and see her family after she was delivered of the baby in her womb.
“I met with my guy in Akwa-Ibom, and he brought me here. He just brought me here and I don’t know the name of the street.
“He impregnated me. He did not tell me anything, he just dropped me at the house. He promised to marry me when I told him that I was pregnant.
“He asked me to come, that after I delivered the baby, we would go to my village to pay the bride price. When I was coming, I did not inform my parents; I did not tell anybody,” she said.
Another victim, Comfort, narrated a similar story, saying that she was also impregnated by the same man that put Goodness in the family way, and added that she eloped with him to Delta.
“I was not staying in Asaba; it was my guy that brought me here because I was pregnant for him. When I told him that I was pregnant, he asked me to keep it that he would take care of me.
“I told my parents that I was going to see a friend, that was how I found myself here with him. He did not promise me money but he promised to marry me. I have been here for two weeks. His name is Prince, I don’t know his surname,” she stated.
The third victim, Happiness, who claimed to hail from Plateau State, corroborated the other two, saying that her boyfriend impregnated both Goodness and Comfort.
“They brought me to the house and I have been staying there before they brought these two. His brother was staying with me. We are only three in the house.
“He also promised to take me to my village after delivery to formalise the marriage,” she claimed.
Happiness said she had the feeling that all was not well but she could not do anything because she had no phone to make calls.
“Since he left, he has not returned. His brother is with us, and he used to buy foodstuff for us to cook and eat,” she added.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Ari Mohammed Ali, who paraded the suspects, said Ejogu was taking care of the ladies on behalf of his brother said to be ring leader of the syndicate and now at large.
Ali said the ring leader engages in sexual activity with the women to get them pregnant and, thereafter, sell the babies for pecuniary interests.
But Ejogu denied the allegations by the police, saying his brother (suspected ring leader) was into building construction, and he came from Abia State to meet him for a job.
Ejogu said he was aware that his brother got two of the ladies pregnant, noting that the same man was capable of taking care of them, hence he did not suspect any clandestine activities.
“This is a false accusation, I did nothing. The accusation is that they are selling the babies and I have not seen anything like that in that house since I came in.
“I came to visit him, as a brother, so that I can look for something to do. My brother is a building contractor and I am not sure he could be involved in baby factory,” Ejogu said.
According to him, the ladies were occupying one room while “I stay in one. The door to the third room has not been fixed, so they cannot stay there because of the cold. And the bathroom has not been fixed also.
“My only concern is that, after the arrest, my brother only picked his call once, since then he has not picked again. He only went for work and since then he has not returned.”
The suspect stated that his brother sent him money just once “because I called him that there was nothing at home to eat.”
Meanwhile, the state police command has handed over the pregnant ladies to the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and the Child’s Rights Implementation Committee.
The move, according to the command’s public relations officer, DSP Bright Edafe, was to guarantee the safety of the women and their unborn children.
A member of the Child’s Rights Implementation Committee, Mr. Patrick Ochei, stated that a Christian orphanage was secured where the three ladies were taken to for nurturing until childbirth. Ochei said the move became necessary because the “Delta State Child’s Rights Law frowns at abuse and inhuman treatments of children from zero to 18 years, and committed to ensuring the proper care and development of any child born and living in Delta State.
“It is also instructive to note that the women were trafficked to Delta State where their phones were destroyed to bar any access to them from their family members before they were subjected to making babies for their master.”
He said efforts have been intensified to locate the families of the ladies for possible reunion after their safe delivery in a conducive environment other than police cell.