Sixteen young ladies whose ages range from 17 to 37 were paraded by the State Security Service (SSS) in Abia State. The ladies were arrested in the early hours of yesterday from a baby factory where they were waiting to deliver and sell their children to prospective buyers.
Their loud cries pervaded the hall as almost all of them broke down at the same time, weeping profusely as they struggled to hide their faces from the cameras and newsmen.
The Director of SSS, Mr Mathew Obodoechi, who briefed the press, said the victims were usually introduced to the centre by their close relatives and friends, including a mother who did not want her husband to know of the pregnancy of her daughter.
“It is unfortunate that some persons hide under the cover of Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to perpetrate various forms of illegal activities,” Obodoechi lamented, urging members of the public to desist from encouraging pregnant ladies to go to baby factories for whatever reason, whether financial or otherwise.
He warned that those who hide under NGOs to perpetrate modern day slave trade should abstain from such illegalities as security agencies would stop at nothing to ensure that they were apprehended and made to face the law.
“Members of the public are urged once more to continue to give useful information on criminal elements in their midst to security agents for public good,” he said.
The 16 pregnant ladies were arrested at No. 3 Anyamele Street, off Nicholas Avenue, in Umungasi area of Aba, in a building that housed one Non-Governmental Organization called Cross Foundation International, the director said.
Obodoechi said further that the 16 girls were kept in a very unhygienic environment. Those found in the home were between 17 and 37 years and were at various stages of pregnancy. The foundation, which keeps pregnant ladies who upon delivery are given paltry sum of N50,000.00 and sent away while their babies are sold to people from different parts of the country is run by one Dr Hyacinth, who the command arrested this morning .
Speaking to newsmen while he was being paraded , Dr Hyacinth said his foundation was duly registered with Ministry of Women Affairs and he did not see himself as somebody doing anything illegal. He said the first time he was arrested in 2004 by the police, he went to court against the police and NAPTIP and was awarded N4million damages, which he said the authorities were yet to pay to him.