Barely a week after a-week-old baby was recovered from an illegal trade syndicate in Isheri-Osun, a Lagos community, the police have rescued 19 pregnant women at another baby factory.
The victims aged between 15 and 28 were reportedly kept at four different locations in Ikotun where their babies after delivery were taken from them and sold for N300,000 or N500,000 depending on the sex.
Four kids were also rescued in the operation led by Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Chike Ibe, a Chief Superintendent (CSP).
While some of the expectant mothers knew their babies would be sold, others were brought to Lagos with promises of job offer only to be turned to baby-making factories. It was gathered that some of the victims were abducted from their home states and brought to the locations where men took turns to get them pregnant.
Those who said they accepted to sell their children to the syndicate claimed they were not offered the money promised. CSP Ibe said the victims were brought from Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Abia and Imo states.
According to the police spokesman, Bala Elkana, a Deputy Superintendent (DSP), detectives acted on a tip off at about 4:00p.m. on September 19 and stormed No. 14, Adisa Street, Ayanwale in Ikotun; 32, Owosho Street, Governor Road, Ikotun; 29, Olugbeyohun Street, Olakunle bus stop, Abaranje; and 4/6 Anomo Street, Abaranje.
He said the places were suspected to have been used for child trafficking, adding that two suspects, Happiness Ukwuoma, aged 40 and Sherifat Ipeya, 54, were arrested in connection with the case.
“The suspects did not receive formal medical training but operate as nurses. They are natives of Imo State and Epe, in Lagos. The command has however launched a manhunt for the principal suspect, Madam Oluchi from Mbano in Imo. She is a mother of five.
“The young women were mostly abducted by the suspects for the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling the babies to potential buyers. The girls were tricked with employment as domestic staff in Lagos. The Commissioner of Police, Lagos, Zubairu Muazu, has visited the scene and ordered the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) to take over the case.
“The command is working with other agencies and stakeholders in rehabilitating and resettling the pregnant girls and the babies. Investigation is ongoing and the suspects will be charged to court,” he said.
It would be recalled that policemen and officials of the Ministry of Women Affairs last year stormed another baby factory at Igando and rescued malnourished children and pregnant women at the facility that also ran an illegal creche.