Mercy (not real name), 23, was impregnated by her boyfriend and told by her aunt to leave for Lagos state, the Western region of Nigeria where there is a job already waiting.
Once she got to Lagos and met her employer, her mobile phone was immediately seized and she was kept in confined apartment amongst other pregnant girls.
When her pregnancy clocked seven months, the woman to whom she was introduced induced her labor.
While in labour, three days after the forceful inducement, the police raided the apartment and took all of them. The baby came out weak and finally died.
Doris (not real name) another of the rescued women said that she borrowed money to travel from her home village to Lagos on the promise of a job.
But when she arrived in the city her phone was taken from her and she was brought to the “factory” where she was told she would remain for up to a year.
At first, she was used as a prostitute and slept with “customers” each night before falling pregnant.
She was then moved to a different building and told that, if she carried the baby to term, she would be “paid handsomely” and allowed to leave.
These are some of the tales of very young girls and women rescued from several baby factories in Lagos, Nigeria.
It all started on the 19th of October 2019 at 1600hrs, based on intelligence report and undercover investigation, Lagos state police command stormed a building at no 14 adisa street Ayanwale area ikotun Lagos, suspected to be used for child trafficking.
19 pregnant girls ages 15 and 28 were found been held hostage and rescued. Four young children were also rescued. They were recovered from four different locations.
Most of the pregnant women held against their will were brought to Lagos from Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Abia and Imo States.
Majority of these women were abducted by the suspects for the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling the Babies to potential buyers. Others were tricked with employment as domestic staff in Lagos. But once delivered, the Babies are sold between #300,000 and #500,000 depending on the sex. Boys are sold for N500,000 and girls for #300,000.
Two suspects namely Happiness Ukwuoma ‘f’ 40 years old and Sherifat Ipeya ‘f’ 54 years old are the most recent suspects arrested by the police in connection with the recent discovery. These women acted as nurses who took delivery of the babies.
Sad to note is that these suspects did not receive formal medical training but operate as nurses who induce, treat and take deliveries.
The Lagos State Police Command has launched a manhunt of the principal suspect Madam Oluchi ‘f’ from Mbano, Imo State. She is a mother of five.
Two weeks after the raid, rescue of pregnant women and arrest of perpetrators, precisely on the 2nd of October 2019 at about 1.00am Nigeria time, the Lagos police command again received an information that seven pregnant young girls were seen stranded at a street in the heart of the state. A team of detectives led by the Divisional Police Officer of the local police station in that area were mobilized. Seven pregnant girls were rescued to the Station. They are between ages 13 and 27.
The State’s Criminal Investigation Department is currently working on the case, unraveling the circumstances behind these practices. The Command is working with other Agencies and stakeholders in rehabilitating and resettling the pregnant girls and the Babies.
Meanwhile investigation is ongoing and the suspects will be charged to Court.
Baby factories or illegal maternity homes where babies are delivered and immediately sold to a ready buyer is not uncommon in Nigeria, a practice government authority strongly condemns.
Several baby factories have developed in parts of the Nigeria to provide infants to wealthy families.
The majority of the women whose children are sold are young unmarried and married women from lower-income households who are suffering from poverty.
Most of the discovered baby factories are found in Southern Nigeria with high incidence in Ondo, Ogun, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Abia and Anambra.
The first publicly reported case of a baby factory in Nigeria was published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in 2006. Between 2006 and 2019, over thirty baby factories have been discovered with more than a 1000 babies sold and hundreds rescued. The actual figure cannot be ascertained as there are no records to show.