The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NCSDC in Abia State on Wednesday said it successfully rescued 32 pregnant teenagers from an illegal maternity home specializing in the sale of unwanted babies.
The state NSCDC Public Relations Officer, Victor Ogbonna, said the maternity located at Umuzuo Village in Osisioma Local Government Area of the state, usually harboured young women who carry unwanted pregnancies till they are delivered; and the babies sold to interested buyers.
Mr. Ogbonna, who presented the pregnant teenagers rescued last Tuesday from the home to reporters in Umuahia, said the proprietress of the illegal centre, Nnenna Mba, was arrested along with two men, Mba Agbai and Chinwoke Mba, who were accused of aiding and abetting the illegal baby trade.
The spokesman said that investigations revealed that the victims were enticed with pecuniary rewards of about N100, 000 for a baby boy, while a baby girl goes for N80, 000.
The price tag, it was gathered, could be as high as N450, 000 for baby boy and N400, 000 for a girl, depending on the financial capacity of the customer.
Mr. Ogbonna said the rescue of the victims and arrest of the perpetrators were effected when the teenagers and the owner of the home were around. He added that further investigations by the Corps revealed that the owner of the maternity home has been involved in the illegal business for some time.
Mr. Ogbonna said the NSCDC discovered that the home was established in 2009, but did not get official registration with the state government until last December.
“In spite of the home being registered with the government, investigations by our men revealed that the owner was hiding under
that to perpetrate the evil trade,’’ he said.
The proprietress of the home, who denied that they enticed their victims into selling their babies, said the centre was officially registered with the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to assist pregnant teenagers who needed support to take care of their delicate condition.
Mr. Ogbonna said that the relatives of the victims have been contacted to reunite them with their families.
Chinwoke Mba, one of the suspects, claimed he was a member of the Abia State Vigilance Service, deployed officially to the centre, adding that the NSCDC officials overpowered him before his arrest.
The Commander-General, Abia State Vigilance Service, Martins Idika, told reporters that one of its workers from the unit command at Osisioma on duty was reportedly arrested by officials of NSCDC on April 3.
Mr. Idika said the matter would be adequately investigated.