The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure that all maternity homes and orphanages are duly registered and issued licences to operate within their scope.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Rep. Prestige Ossy (APGA-Abia) at the plenary on Tuesday.
Moving the motion earlier, Ossy said that in 2006, the United Nations Report on Nigeria drew attention to the existence of baby factories in the country.
He said that the nefarious practice had reached an alarming proportion in different parts of the country, especially in the southern part, with babies being sold as ordinary wares.
The lawmaker said that the term “baby factories”, “baby farms” or baby harvesting”, was a new form of human trafficking, with the ‘factories’ located in isolated places.
According to him, young girls and ladies are lured, encouraged or coerced to get pregnant and deliver the babies for sale, with or without their consent.
He recalled that the 2011 Report of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) stated that human trafficking was the third most common heinous crime ravaging Nigeria after financial fraud and drug trafficking.
The lawmaker said that the baby factories were being operated by powerful cartel, with prominent people backing the nefarious trade.
“Baby factories operate under the guise of orphanage homes, prayer homes, social welfare homes or maternity homes and clinics, thereby luring unsuspecting teenage girls and ladies with all sorts of bait.
“Those victims find the hostels as safe havens for secretly dropping their unwanted babies for a token, without the glare of the public and thereafter continue with their normal lives as though nothing had happened.
“The extremely poor and vulnerable teen girls and ladies see such homes as veritable opportunities for redressing their economic misfortunes by selling their babies for peanuts,” he said.
The parliamentarian said that according to the UN report, at least 10 babies were being sold illegally every day in Nigeria.
Ossy said that the development was worrisome and posed great threat to national security, especially with the global rise in human trafficking.
He stressed the need for putting an end to operations of baby factories in order to save helpless teen girls and ladies from the risks involved in their indulgences.
The House called on the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to work in close synergy with other law enforcement agencies to forestall the activities of baby factories in the country.
The green chambers also urged NAPTIP to closely monitor orphanages and maternity homes to prevent them from being used for nefarious activities.
It called on state governments to initiate the process of domesticating the Child’s Rights Act in order to ensure adequate protection of children.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Committees on Human Rights and Healthcare Services to ensure the implementation of the resolution. (NAN)