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The Imo State Police Command yesterday rescued 16 pregnant girls aged between 14 to 19 years from an illegal orphanage that operated in the guise of an NGO.
The ‘orphanage’ was operated by a fake medical doctor, James Ezuma.
Ezuma is currently standing trial for alleged gun running. The NGO named the Ezuma Women and Children Rights Protection Initiative (EWCRPI) was a platform that shields Ezuma’s criminal activities from security operatives.
Briefing newsmen, the State Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Musa Katsina, disclosed that the NGO was a baby factory where girls were “encouraged to get pregnant and paid N100,000 on delivery” to give away their babies, who then have been used for purposes “ranging from child trafficking to rituals”, Katsina said.
He added that the Command is trying to unravel the whereabouts of a baby that was snatched away from its teenage mother, Nnachi Chinaza, by the suspect who refused to disclose to the Police who the baby was
“So far he has taken us to Abia state where he said the baby is but we were unable to recover the baby, though investigations are still ongoing, the presumption at the moment is that the baby may have been used for ritual purposes”, Katsina said.
He warned parents to watch their teenage girls to protect them from child traffickers and baby factory operators.
Katsina further said that Ezuma was arraigned before an Owerri Chief Magistrate Court in November 2013 for the offence of conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms.
However, when the police conducted a search on the premises of the purported NGO, “sixteen pregnant girls between the ages of fourteen and nineteen were found; also recovered was an automatic eight loader pump action gun which is a prohibited firearm”.
The 19-year-old mother of the missing child from Ebonyi State told journalists she was directed to come to the home by a lady who promised she will be taken care of.
She said that her baby was taken away without her consent. “When I started disturbing him to give me my baby, he gave me one hundred thousand Naira instead”.
The names of the rescued expectant mothers were given as Peace Effiong (24, Rivers state), Rita Nnanna (25, Anambra), Blessing Ubbah (20, Lagos), Joy Brown (19, Imo), Precious Anyadike (18, Lagos), Kelechi Wenwu (17, Imo), Chidinma Okoro (19, Enugu), Iheekanma Onwubiko (21, Imo), Chinyere Ibenime (20, Imo), Nkiru Alozie (16, Abia), Nnachi Chinaza (19, Ebonyi), Victoria Peter Udoh (16, Akwa Ibom), Ngozi Ike (20, Rivers), Chika Eze (18, Abia), Jecila Nwonke (19, Abia) and Chinaza Samsom (14, Abia).
Also recovered in the vast remises were ten exotic cars such as a green Jaguar Car with registration number PD787 IKJ, a red Lincon Navigator with registration number, DN 494 ABC, ash Jaguar Car with registration number BT 929 GWA, white Chrysler with reg. no RBC 335 AS, Red Chrysler with reg. no BH 168 GWA, white Chrysler with reg. no JZ 608 ABC, black Lincon Car with reg. no EU 917 LND, ash Honda Jeep with reg. no EZ 388 ABJ and two other unregistered cars, ash Nissan Quest and Nissan Partfinder Jeep.
To recall, on November 25, Imo State Government promised to revoke certificates of all foster homes in its attempt to solve the probles of baby factories in the state. ‘Production’ of babies has become a ‘blooming’ business in Nigeria. There are, however, no statistics on the number of babies sold, nor the young men and women entangled.