A female victim has revealed how the owner of a baby factory imprisoned young women and run an illegal business at the facility.
The baby-making home is located at the Imedu Olori area of Mowe in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.
It was discovered by the police on Friday last week when the victim regained her freedom after escaping from the facility.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun, Abimbola Oyeyemi, revealed this in a statement.
In her complaint at the Mowe Police Station, the lady explained that she was lured into the home and held captive there for some time, in company with other victims.
According to the victim, the owner of the criminal facility who lured her into the home usually contracts the service of some able body men to sleep with them and impregnate them.
She added that immediately any of them gave birth to a baby, such a child would be taken away by the suspect to only God knows where.
“Upon her report, the DPO Mowe division SP Marvis Jayeola mobilised his detectives to the scene where 12 ladies between the ages of 20 – 25 years were rescued with six amongst them heavily pregnant,” the statement said.
Those arrested included the suspect said to be the owner of the baby-making home, Florence Ogbonna, as well as two men – Chibuke Akabueze and Chibuzor Okafor.
The Commissioner of Police in Ogun, Kenneth Ebrimson, consequently ordered the immediate transfer of the suspects to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, for discreet investigation.
He also directed that the victims be kept in safe and protective custody, pending when they would be reunited with their respective families.
Confirming the development to Channels Television, the Zonal Head of the agency in Lagos, Daniel Atoloko revealed that 10 of the girls gave birth through normal delivery while one had a cesarean session.
He added that four girls and six boys made the addition to the home, stating that one of the babies died in the course of delivery.
Mr. Atoloko explained that the two girls who had attempted to perform abortions before their eventual rescue also had miscarriages.
He added that NAPTIP is calling for more support from the Federal Government and other organizations, as they anticipate deliveries from nine other rescued girls.
The mother was admitted at 9:30 am, the birth recorded at 9:35. Women often arrive in extremis at the Doctors Without Borders maternity hospital in southeastern Afghanistan, one of the most active in the world, with more than 60 babies born daily.
The early hours of the morning are the most feverish for the hospital — affectionately known by the NGO as “the baby factory” — just a stone’s throw from Pakistan’s tribal areas, in Khost province.
The Taliban are active in the region and roads are often dangerous after dark, so when 25-year-old Asmad Fahri felt her contractions begin at night she knew she would have to wait until daybreak to begin the three-hour journey to the hospital.
Finally, she is resting, her infant tightly swaddled and asleep between her knees.
On average new mothers are kept in the ward for six hours, but she has asked to leave after just three, to ensure she reaches home before darkness falls again.
Sometimes the mothers have to travel for days, in pain and bleeding, over unpaved, insecure roads in carts or by whatever mode of transportation they can find.
In an opposite wing, the delivery tables continuously welcome newcomers.
Most only have time to lift the long layers of clothing hiding their bodies and wedge their coloured veils between their teeth, too rushed even to change into MSF’s standard red pyjamas.
The Khost Maternity Hospital (KMH) opened at the end of 2012 in a medical desert in the conflict-riven country with one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world.
It was an overnight success, with nearly 12,000 deliveries in its first full year in 2013.
By 2017 that figure had nearly doubled, to 23,000.
This year the hospital is on track to deliver 24,000 babies, says Dr. Rasha Khoury, a Palestinian gynecologist who is a medical officer at the site.
If so that puts it within crying distance of the busiest maternity wards in the United States, where the Northside Hospital in Atlanta delivered 27,000 babies in 2016, the highest number in the country that year.
“Here we are saving lives for free,” smiles Safia Khan, 24, the assistant manager of the midwifery team.
Behind her, a young mother of twins searches her skirts and hands her a folded banknote. It is a traditional gesture of gratitude after delivery, at times required in some hospitals but politely declined here. “It’s forbidden,” insists Khan.
More deadly than war
The UN and the World Bank put maternal mortality at around 396 deaths per 100,000 live births in Afghanistan.
But the figure is disputed, with experts pointing out it is an improbable fall from the 1,600 per 100,000 recorded in 2002.
Such a decline would mean Afghanistan would have reached its Millennium Development Goal set by the UN some five years early, a study published in the medical journal the Lancet noted in 2017.
The authors of that study say more credible figures released by the Afghan government in partnership with USAID suggest maternal mortality could still be as high as 1,291 per 100,000 — meaning that giving birth is around five times more deadly for Afghan women than the conflict itself.
If so, it is a staggering figure 17 years after the fall of the Taliban regime, despite billions of dollars in international aid, in a country with one of the youngest, fastest-growing populations in the world.
Dr Khoury says that MSF facilitates around 40 percent of the births in Khost, which has an estimated 1.5 million inhabitants.
But to make a real dent in the mortality rates in the face of these challenges they would need “three hospitals like MSF”, she says.
On top of war, poverty, and a galloping population, the medical staff faces a further obstacle: the Pashtunwali, the patriarchal social code of honour that dictates life in the conservative Pashtun tribal region where Khost lies.
Under the Pashtunwali the genders must be segregated, and a woman must never show her face to a stranger.
As such, medical staff at the hospital are exclusively female, with the exception of some anesthetists and the director of the neonatology department.
Even so, a little persuasion has at times been necessary, says Salamat Khan Mandozai, a respected local figure who deals with security for the hospital and has also acted as a community liaison.
“In this rural environment, some women still prefer to give birth at home,” he notes.
Going to hospital embarrasses them, agrees Safia Khan — birth is a private matter.
Dr Khoury says the hospital is aware that many women are not coming to them but adds that the families who do come do so “without hesitation”.
For many, she adds, obstacles are not about culture, but finances — namely, paying for transportation — or safety and security, especially at night.
Women must also wait until a man of the family is available to accompany them, she says.
But once inside the hospital power returns to the mothers-in-law who escort the patients until they reach the doors of the delivery room.
“We are really reaching people at the margin of the society in Afghanistan,” says Dr. Khoury.
The House of Representatives has passed through the second reading, a bill seeking to end trafficking in persons and sale of new born babies.
The bill, if passed to law, would end harbouring of pregnant persons under the age of 18 years as well as selling or attempting to sell new-born babies in the country.
Eddie Mbadiwe, who is sponsoring the bill, described human trafficking as a serious crime which deserves to be punished by the law. To fight the menace, the lawmaker proposed a 10-year jail term for the offender.
The second legislative arm is, however, amending the Trafficking in Persons (prohibition) Law Enforcement Act 2004.
This is in a bid to check the growing cases of what has come to be known in some parts of the country as baby production factory where pregnant young ladies are kept and their newly born babies are sold off.
The bill was supported unanimously by lawmakers in the House. It has been referred to the Committee on Human Rights and Justice for further legislative work.
The Ogun State Commissioner for Community Development and Cooperatives, Samuel Aiyedogbon, has underscored the need for leaders of Community Development Associations (CDAs) in Nigeria to put in place community policing that would serve as neighbourhood watch.
A statement signed by the Head of Media in the Ministry, Mr. Ayokunle Ewuoso, quoted the commissioner as saying “this move, if made, would go a long way in checking rising crime rates across the country, particularly baby-making factories and ritualist dens.
Mr Ayedogbon made this proposal in reaction to the recent recovery of a ritual den/baby factory uncovered at a residential estate in Adigbe, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of the state, barely 2weeks after a similar discovery was made in Akute, Ifo Local Gvernment Area of the state.
He opined that “the issue was shocking and worrisome,” maintaining that efforts to combat such unwholesome development should be the concern of all and not that of Government alone.
“We all have major roles to play in securing our communities, our CDAs should live up to their expectations and should imbibe the idea of setting up neighbourhood watch within their communities to stem the ugly incidents of baby factories, ritual dens and other criminal activities. CDAs should be security cautious and report any suspicious moves in their various communities to security agencies”, Ayedogbon said.
The Commissioner pointed out that now, CDAs need to do more than embarking on self-help projects, but go a step further to collaborate with agencies to ensure all-round security of lives and property in their community, adding that “people will only be at peace to enjoy whatever amenities the CDA provides if they are sure of safety and protection at all times.”
He further advised landlords to be mindful and always ascertain the nature of businesses their tenants engage in before renting their buildings to them, urging owners of uncompleted buildings to always ensure that the environment of such buildings are kept clean so as not to serve as hideouts for criminally minded people.
On the plans of his Ministry on the development, Ayedogbon affirmed that it would not fold its arms and watch the ugly trend continue, revealing that very soon, leaders of CDAs would be invited to a meeting to fashion out ways of collaborating with other relevant stakeholders towards establishing the neighborhood watch in their respective communities across the state.
Eight pregnant ladies including teenage girls have been rescued by the Ogun State police command at an alleged baby making factory located at number 9 Sebanjo Crescent, off Fabolude Busstop, Akute area of Ifo local government of Ogun State.
The police also arrested a middle aged man and a 26 year old woman running the factory.
While parading the suspects at the Ajuwon Divisional Police Headquarters, the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ikemefuna Okoye, described the development as inhuman, insisting that the command would get to the root of the matter.
The suspects are expected to be transferred to the state criminal investigation department for through investigations.
The structure which housed the hostages appeared as residential building but the latest discovery by the police revealed that a baby making factory was domiciled in the house, where teenage girls were made to part with their babies after delivery and a token given.
The 26 year old woman, Angela Chigoeze, who claimed to be operating a divine herbal clinic, has been arrested as the one in charge of the illicit operation which sold babies for an alleged sum of 300,000 Naira (about 1,800 dollars).
“If they give birth, I will sell the child for 300,000. I sell it to women that cannot give birth,” she said.
The state’s Commissioner of Police said the arrest was made possible through information by some residents, adding that the police was on the trail of other accomplices.
Baby factory is gradually becoming a business in Nigeria, as there have been discovery of similar factories in the eastern part of Nigeria.
The discovery of a baby factory in Imo State in December 2013 led to the banning of all non-governmental organization operating under the platform of motherless babies’ home.
About 24 persons were also arrested in January at a Baby factory uncovered in Ilu-Titun, a town in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State by the Officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service in the state.
Meanwhile, four middle aged men have been gunned down and fatally wounded by the command in Sango area of the state while robbing a Bureau De Change.
Items recovered from them included arms and ammunition and a Toyota Yaris vehicle with registration number EJ 440 ESD.
In December 2013, Police also uncovered a Baby Factory in Imo State.