The police in Abia State have foiled an attempt by a child trafficking syndicate to sell a baby girl 24 hours after it was delivered by her 16-year-old mother.
The state Commissioner of Police, Usman Tilli Abubakar, paraded the suspected traffickers and other criminals arrested in October. He said the plan to sell the baby was foiled on October 25 at about 1am when the nursing mother and one Ngozi Mbagwu of Uratta Road, Aba, were arrested on their way to give the baby to the buyer.
He added that N1,190,000 was recovered from Mbagwu, adding that the money was meant for the purchase of three babies.
Some members of the syndicate, “who conspired to buy the baby” were also arrested, he said.
Abubakar gave the names of the suspects as Lucy Ekawu and Onalapo Isaiah, Christiana Ololade and Chisom Onyemaechi.
According to him, the role of Ekawu and Isaiah was to pose as a couple and parents of the baby for easy passage after the transaction.
The teenage mother told THISDAY that she was a student of Army Day Secondary School, Abakaliki in Ebonyi State when she was impregnated by a man, who then abandoned her. But a driver residing in Lagos took her and promised to marry her.
She further narrated that after the delivery of her baby, the man she was living with arranged for its sale without her knowledge.
She explained that her live-in lover had taken her and her baby and left them with some people who were introduced as his relations and it was when she was resisting their attempt to take her baby by force that the police came to rescue her.
Abubakar also said the police rescued five pregnant girls from Ezuma Hospital in Aba where they were being kept to give birth for the babies to be sold. The pregnant girls, Juliet Ekezie, 23; Chidinma Anyim, 19; Amarachi William, 16; Joy Brown, 19; and Blessing Oba, 20, were paraded alongside five workers of the hospital arrested by the police.
“It was revealed that the young girls, whose ages are between 15 and 21 years, were procured of and kept in the clinic until they are delivered of their babies and paid off with the sum of N100,000 each,” he said.
However, Abubakar said “what broke the camel’s back” was that one of the girls developed health complications after delivery but while receiving treatment in another hospital she was denied the payment of the N100,000 as promised hence she raised the alarm.