Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia
Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad attached to the Abia State Police Command have uncovered a suspected baby factory at Ogbor Hill, in the Aba area of the state.
During the operation, the detectives rescued five pregnant women and arrested a 54-year-old man, identified as Nkem Nwokocha.
Nwokocha, who hails from Obegu village in the Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of the state, allegedly ran the factory with his wife, identified only as Nurse.
The rescued pregnant women are Chidinma Chukwu (29), of Isiala Mbano community, Imo State; Kelechi Sampson (20); Happiness Godwin, of Mboko Umuanunu village, Obingwa, Abia State; Okoronkwo Mercy, of Alayi, in the Bende LGA, Abia State; and Oluebube Onyabu, of Umuanunu village, in the Obingwa LGA, Abia State.
While parading the suspect at the police headquarters in Umuahia, the state capital, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Adeleye Oyebade, said the police acted on a tip-off.
He explained that upon receipt of the information, operatives moved into the area and discovered the hideout, where the pregnant women were camped.
The police boss lamented the rate at which people indulged in illegal sale of babies in the state, adding that it was an act of wickedness against innocent children.
He said, “Any crime that involves the sale of children is against humanity and God. Sometimes, it’s even hard to imagine that a child will be stolen and sometimes, their parents are involved. But we are not going to accept it. We are asking members of the public to give us useful information that will assist us in this direction.”
The suspect, Nwokocha, said his wife was a midwife who had been running the maternity home for over six years.
He said although the home was not legally registered with the government, it was working in liaison with a yet-to-be-identified social welfare home.
He said, “I’m aware of what my wife is doing. Most times when I returned from my place of work, I saw these girls and when I asked them what they were doing in my house, my wife told me that their parents registered them with her for treatment.
“When the girls put to bed, my wife takes the babies to the welfare home we are working with. I don’t make any money from this because I have my own business and I am comfortable.”
Two of the pregnant girls, Mercy and Kelechi, said they knew Nwokocha’s wife through a woman who referred them to her for treatment of stomach ulcer.
Others, however, claimed that they were only on a visit.
All the victims said they were not legally married, adding that they went to the maternity home without the consent of either their parents or those responsible for the pregnancies.
They denied any intention to sale their babies, but could not state any plan for their upkeep after birth.