Thursday, 28 June 2012

Babies-for-sale: Soldiers raid Aba orphanage

Soldiers attached to the 144 Battalion of the Nigeria Army, Aba, Abia State, have stormed a motherless babies home in the city and arrested six girls for alleged child trafficking while six babies were recovered.
The officer in charge of the Forward Operation Base (FOB) in Aba, Captain Chris Nwogu, said the raid followed complaint received from one Chidinma (other names withheld) that her friend deceived her into taking her three months old baby boy to the orphanage where she was given some cash on an alleged understanding that she would have access to the child whenever she wanted.
Nwogu said the girl reported that she was paid N300, 000 and the friend that brought her was given N200, 000 and she gave out the child with the hope that she would have access to him as agreed. The officer in charge said in the process of transacting the business, Chidinma’s mother died and she travelled to their hometown, Mgbo in Ebonyi State for the burial. According to the army officer, Chidinma said after the burial, she called the orphanage and informed them she was coming to see her child.
The management of the home was said to have told the girl that as far as she had been paid, she would no longer see nor have access to the baby. This prompted Chidinma to report the matter to the Army. Nwogu said when soldiers stormed the orphanage, workers in the place refused to open the gate for them but that his men managed to gain entry into the place.
Nwogu said before gaining access into the home, the founder was at large, leaving behind three pregnant girls who she allegedly contracted to deliver their babies for her. They were arrested together with two other girls said to be workers in the place.
The officer informed that the soldiers rescued six children ranging from three days old to 16 years. Three of them were said to have been brought from Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
The army officer, while appealing to the founder of the home to make herself available, said those arrested would be handed over to the State Security Service (SSS) for further investigation and the children given to the Department of Social Welfare for upkeep till their rightful parents would come. Some of the girls who spoke to Daily Sun said they had problem with the men that impregnated them and were introduced to the home by their friends and the lady accepted to take care of their pregnancy and pay them off when they were delivered of their babies.
Chidinma told Daily Sun, “I sold the baby last Monday for N300,000 and on Friday, my mother died, so I used part of the amount I was paid to bury her and when I came back to see my boy as we agreed, they refused.” Another girl simply named MaryAnn from Item in Bende Local Government Area was said to have been delivered of a baby girl last Friday but that the baby was taken away immediately and the mother had not seen her neither was she paid any money.
The soldiers appealed to the authorities in the state to close the home because of alleged atrocities said to be going on in the place.

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