The Rivers State Police command has busted a suspected baby factory syndicate in Isi-Alangwa, South Local Government Area of Abia State. It arrested five expectant mothers and the gateman to the building said to have been used as the baby factory. The suspects were paraded before reporters yesterday in Port Harcourt, the state capital. Their arrests followed the alleged abduction of a four-year-old boy, Friday Alioma, and an eight-month-old pregnant Happiness Samuel.
The victims were allegedly abducted from their homes in Ogbogoro community of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area by four women and taken to the suspected baby factory. Happiness admitted that she and other women were in the factory to deliver and sell their babies to the operator of the centre, identified simply as Nma.
The suspects, aged between 21 and 25 years, said Nma is a doctor running the centre as a baby-selling home. But the police have not arrested the suspected operator.
The women blamed their actions on hardship and rejection by their families and parents.
The police also arrested a 68-year-old man, John Ndukwe, said to be the gateman to the suspected baby factory. Ndukwe admitted that expectant women were admitted and kept in the centre until they were delivered of their babies. Corroborating the women’s story, the gateman said the women were discharged from the centre immediately they recovered from their child delivery pains and paid off, depending on the gender of their babies. But the suspects did not disclose how much was paid for each of the babies.
Addressing reporters, five-month pregnant Joy Johnson, from Edo State, said she was expecting as much as N500,000 from the centre after being delivered of her child.
Police spokesman Ahmad Muhammad, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), who conducted the parade, condemned the act. He said the suspects would soon be charged to court while the operator of the factory would be trailed and arrested.
On how the police busted the suspected baby factory, Muhammad said: “On April 27, (four-year-old) Friday Alioma was reported abducted at Ogbogoro community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. The mother, Mrs. Jenny Alioma, reported the matter to the Anti-Kidnap Unit of the police command on May 16.
“Same day, another person, Friday Samuel, also from the same community, reported that his eight-month pregnant wife, Happiness Samuel, had been abducted and taken to Aba in Abia State. “Our discrete investigation linked Nkechi Oguama, from Ugiri in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State, in connivance with Ngozi Ogbonna, from Ogbaugwu community in Owerri West and Blessing Izemieze, from Uguta, in Uguta Local Government Area, both in Imo State, as well as Favour Ogbonna, from Abia State, to the alleged kidnap of Friday and Happiness. They have been arrested.
“On interrogation, the four suspects denied any involvement in the kidnap of Friday but admitted masterminding the movement of Happiness to one woman, identified simply as Nma, the suspected director of a rehabilitation home in Abia State, called Charity and Rehabilitation Centre, at Umuikpe in Isi-Alangwa South Local Government Area.
“One of the suspects, Ngozi Ogbonna, last Saturday, led a team of policemen from the AKU in Rivers State to the rehabilitation centre where they saw and arrested five expectant mothers, aged between 21 and 25 years.
“They gave their names as: Ijeoma Ofor, Chiamaka Ikeze, Peace Sunday Mathew, Chinyere Monday and Joy Johnson. “Their pregnancies are in various stages. All the women admitted that they were at the centre to be delivered of babies and sell them to the owner of the centre who keeps and takes care of them.
“We are yet to arrest her, but we are trailing her. We will ensure she is arrested within the shortest possible time.”