A reprehensible story of child sale caught my attention last week and because such condemnable acts now happen frequently, Nigerians appear not to be shocked any more.
A woman, Mrs. Esther Abraham had reported to the police that his husband, Moses Udoh Abraham sold their two-year-old son, Elisha to an unknown woman without her consent.
The man on his arrest confessed that he indeed sold his son for N150,000. On his arrest, N103,000 was recovered from him, meaning that he had begun to sell spend out of the proceeds from the sale. His reason for the despicable act was to get money to take care of his family. He had six children. He said Elisha, the youngest was sold off to raise money to raise money to feed the family. Police are still in search of the buyer and baby Elisha, while the baby seller remains in police custody.
A father selling his own son? It’s doubtful if anyone would have contemplated this during the dark era of slave trade, let alone in 2017.
But Moses Abraham isn’t alone in this inhuman trade. Earlier in the year, the police also arrested a man, George-Sunday Udoh and his wife Victoria, for selling their six-year-old daughter for N400,000. The husband and wife sold the child to enable them offset their house rent and open a small provision shop. However, the father of the child said they only gave the child out in trust to raise money to meet their needs due to the economic situation in the country.
If the Udohs truly gave theirs out in trust, this young woman, Chioma Fidelis, aged 20 didn’t. In another bizarre account said decided to sell the child because she could not take care of the baby. And all she claimed to have got in return for parting with her baby boy were some building materials and a half bag of rice.
Her words: “I got pregnant by mistake and I did not know. When I gave birth to the baby boy I did not have money to take care of him. So I decided to sell the child. They told me that they sold the child for N700,000. I did not collect any money from them, the only thing I got was half bag of rice, chairs, provisions and bags of cement which I used to repair my house.”
And the buyers, Mr. Jonas and Salome Anyanwu said they did pay N700,000 to the go-between who negotiated the sale, because they already had six female children and desperately needed a male child.
This despicable act of own baby sales is a notch higher in the rank of abductions and trafficking, which have become everyday occurrence in most parts of the country.
A 22-year-old woman, Chinaza Onwuasoanya who was arrested also earlier in the year confessed to having sold no fewer than 20 stolen children within two years.
The kids were seized at different times on the way home from school.
They were sold between N150,000 and N200,000 to a 45-year-old woman, Goodness, who ran an a fake orphanage strictly used for trafficking.
Onwuasoanya made her own confessions saying:
“I got into child trafficking two years ago. I have sold 20 male and female children to Madam Goodness who operates the orphanage. She paid me between N150,000 and N200,000 for each baby I sold to her. I got to know her when I became pregnant and gave birth to a girl on October 4, 2013. After I delivered the baby, a friend introduced me to Madam Goodness.
“I took my daughter to her and she gave me N150,000.00, to take care of myself. After that time, I decided to go into child trafficking by kidnapping children coming back from school or getting them in the street. Then I would take them to Madam Goodness. And she would sell them between N150,000 and N200,000.
“But I was arrested on May 1, 2017, when I stole a set of twins at an estate in Onitsha and took them to my house. Suddenly the father of the twins traced me to my house and came with policemen and I was arrested.”
Apart from parents who turned their children into tradable commodities there are also young girls who deliberately get pregnant so that they can sell off their newborn babies. They are in several baby factories in different parts of the country. How more callous can a mother be?
Is human life no longer sacred? When did we degenerate to this level of looking at everything including fellow beings and particularly as trade articles? I imagine how those who buy other people’s children would perceive and treat such kids, as slave or freeborn?
No sane society will allow this kind of inhuman act to continue. It is shameful and barbaric. It demeans our collective humanity and there is no better evidence of the total collapse of values in our society.
There appears to be very little effort at discouraging parents and abductors, as most of the incidences of baby sales get reported in the news only after the deeds had been done.
There must be re-orientation and public awareness by governments in parts of the country where this criminal act is rampant. Relevant government agencies must also take the campaigns to churches and mosques, which should preach to their congregations about the evil of baby sales.
This act also exposes the weakness of our social welfare system. In saner climes every child is accounted for and institutions and facilities are put in place to ensure that all children grow up to be useful to the society. Parents who cannot cater for their children have such children taken away from them and placed in welfare homes run by government. Such children are also given out for legitimate adoption. If couples in need of children for adoption can have them legitimately, then buying of babies either from parents, kidnappers and baby factories will no longer thrive.
The excuse of poverty and economic hardship cited by some of the parents involved in the sale of their babies as reason for the acts is ridiculous and unacceptable. Many of them who blame their wickedness on lack of jobs are either lazy or selfish and wicked. While the lazy fellows are complaining of inability to feed their large families, there are, for instance, farms across the country in search of labourers. Foreigners from Republic of Benin are working on such farms with their families and returning home at the end of the farming season with hefty savings, while our own people resorting to selling their babies to feed.
Finally, our laws must be strengthened to curb this inhuman act and there must be punishment, very stiff punishment to serve a strong deterrent that Nigerian child isn’t and shouldn’t be a commodity for sale.
Re: Terrorism of heavy-duty trucks
Abdulfatah, the issue of heavy trucks constituting nuisance and deaths is a common feature everywhere. How could a truck with defective break, piloted by conscious driver of its problem, be on the road if the agency incharge of checking vehicles were up and doing? Why should one be surprised when for over forty years, container trucks have rendered Oshodi, Apapa expressway a “go-slow” route to vehicles? Satellite town area in Lagos was originally created as residential area but some parts of its axes have been converted to warehouses by Ibo traders who import goods into the country. Heavy trucks with sagging unbolted containers are plying the two-track bumpy inner roads threatening lives of people; unchecked by the federal, state or local government officials? Going back to your story, the reaction of the two vehicles that overtook the troubled truck, to go and alert other people, speaks volumes about how caring Nigerians are generally. The absence of FRSC, around the incident, might be as a result of the recent ban on state roads imposed on the agency by Lagos state. This however is not meant as a clean bill of performance by the agency if situation were otherwise. Governments at all levels are averse to security of lives and properties in the country. In colonial era, which some of us were privileged to witness, the agency incharge of transport was alive to its responsibility; checking vehicles and ensuring that every vehicle on the road was fit to be and if any was found with the slightest default, even in updating its vehicle and driver’s licences, it would be impounded and the owner of the vehicle duly prosecuted. Such action has now been subtituted with bribing the agency’s officials on duty if any by culprits and driving off cleared of their sins. What other option do Nigerians have than to “resign to fate and leave our safety in the hands of God” as prescribed in your piece? God save Nigeria, Amen.
I salute you sir . l have to blame a reckless driver bad road & government agencies . ls it not in the wharf or bounde tarmena they do load the truck no traffic agents to stop such unworthy truck . lf we go back to record i think lBB’s FRSC was a good step may be he saw most of all this things that is going wrongly in the country now. l keep on asking is there any thing that is greater than life ? govt should do some thing now. –Longinus lhedinihu , Mbaise
My dear brother Abdulfatah, you are not the only one being frightened by the way heavy duty vehicle drivers scare life out of other road users on our poorly maintained roads. Apart from the fact that most of these vehicles should have been scraped due to age and their rickety conditions, the attitude of most of the drivers makes the matter worse; and that is the real danger. Most of these drivers operate under the influence of drugs and alcohol. You can then imagine an expired truck without a sound brake system, good head lamp and rear lights being driven by a drunken driver. The result unfortunately, is needless loss of precious lives on our roads. However, just as every thing Nigeria sadly, this situation is with us due to the alarming rate of corruption in our society. With the presence of the police, vehicle inspection officers and the FRSC on our roads nation wide, one would have thought that the roads would have been made safe for other drivers and the average road users; but the contrary holds sway. This is simply because the rules are not strictly enforced by these agencies. Blatantly, the officers get themselves compromised by the drivers in the full glare of the public thereby making nonsense of the reason why the agencies were set up in the first instance.
Where rules are are not enforced, anarchy reigns. What is required, is a change of attitude.
Thanks. Emma Okoukwu