In line with its resolve to clamp down on operators of baby factories to stem the tide of child trafficking that is assuming a frightening dimension in the state, Abia State Government over the weekend demolished a five storey Ezuma Hospital building in Aba.
The demolition followed over two months of cordoning off of the imposing structure by the police after a raid it carried out simultaneously at the hospital and another private hospital at the Ogbor Hill area.
The structure was situated at No. 101 Okigwe Road, Aba and government said it took the action on the premise that its owner, used it to harbour pregnant teenagers and also adopted babies through illegal means.
The demolition exercise which lasted more than two hours was supervised by the state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Elder Godwin Nna while combined team of security agents were on ground to provide security.
Dr. Ezuma, who hails from Ndiokeke Ndiakunwata in Arondizuogu, Ideato North Local Government of Imo State, had earlier in the year relocated from Aba to Owerri where he was arrested last week over alleged running of a baby factory.
Dr. Ezuma had in an interview with Daily Sun prior to his arrest denied involvement in child trafficking, stressing that he was duly licensed to run a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Ezuma Women and Children Right Initiative (EWCRI) which he said he operated according to stipulated rules.
Speaking at the demolition site, Nna said the state government decided to embark on the exercise in conformity with the laws of Abia State against child trafficking and kidnapping in human persons, stressing that a similar exercise had been carried out in Afara-Ibeku, Umuahia, the state capital.
The commissioner also said apart from being used as a baby factory, the building was built outside the approved plan given to the owner. He, however, warned that his ministry was not going to hesitate in pulling down structures in the state erected outside the approved master plans.
He went further to describe the demolition exercise as a successful one as no human or economic life was lost while the exercise lasted, stating that government would not rest on its oars in the campaign against insecurity and ridding the state of criminal elements.
On the case of another doctor, whose hospital was also closed down for allegedly operating a baby factory, Abia State Commissioner of Police, Usman Tilli Abubakar, who in an earlier interview accused the medical doctor of involvement in child trafficking, vowed to end the menace in the state.
On claims by the medical doctor that he was operating an NGO/Social home called Mother Ijato Family Care Trust registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with the objective of preventive and care services for victims of unwanted pregnancy, protection of children without families and orphans rehabilitation.
“Where is the baby delivered by Gift Lawrence? Is she not a human being? Does she not have the right to have her baby? Does she not have right to ask for her child? She has the constitutional right to claim her child,” the commissioner of police responded in obvious reference to one of the babies that was alleged to have been given birth to by one Gift and sold by the hospital.
“If the medical doctor claims to be running a social home or NGO, was he permitted to sell babies? Where is the baby delivered of Gift Lawrence? Did the government also give him approval to sell babies?” the commissioner of police queried.
“Since the raid at the hospital, he has been using some pressman and lawyers, but they cannot stop us from doing our duty. Since he has a permit to run the NGO, why is he on the run? Let him report to the Police.
“A permit or approval to run an NGO or social home is one thing, but what you do with the permit given to you is another thing. How you handle the permit is the issue. No government will give you permit to sell babies. Does Gift Lawrence not have the right to have new born baby? Let him produce the baby of the girl. We are determined to get to the root of the matter,” he said.
From OKEY SAMPSON, Aba