Immigration Service, Ondo State command, have discovered a baby factory in Ilu-Titun, in Okitipupa Local Government area of the state.
Already, a 66 years old man, Mr Aliu Ojo, who claimed to be a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police has been arrested along with 23 other suspects that were picked up in the house being allegedly used for the illegal act.
The suspects paraded at the Ondo State Headquarters of the NIS also included the alleged kingpin in the operation of the factory, Mrs Happiness Ogundeji, popularly known as “Mama Pota” aged 45, five ladies at different stages of pregnancies, five babies and eight men.
Some of the arrested men, however, claimed to be husbands of the women.
The Comptroller General of NIS, Ondo State, Mr Musa Al-Hassan, said his men raided the building and arrested the suspects following a tip from the Comptroller General of the NIS, who directed the state command to work on a circular that emanated from the Cross River State command.
He said the efforts of the command paid off after several months of surveillance with the discovery of two flats building being used for the operation at Ilu-Titun.
The NIS boss, however, said the owner of the baby factory claimed the centre was a Natural Herbal Centre, particularly for women.
Al-Hassan added that Ogundeji, who had another branch at Ore, in Odigbo Local Government, relocated to Ilu-Titun, Ondo State from Port-Harcourt, where she had been doing illegal business.
He stated that the kingpin had been doing the business in conjunction with a Cameronian, adding that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) had directed that the arrested people be brought to Lagos.
The comptroller commended the collaboration among security agencies in the state, adding that it was the harmonious relationship that made the operation to be successful.
Speaking further, the Head of Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Section, Mrs Biola Obisesan, said the suspects resisted arrest as they insisted on getting a warrant of arrest before they were eventually taken away.
She said the woman wanted to escape through a ladder that was placed on the wall, adding that the house was stocked with raw foodstuff like tubers of yam, rice, garri while the place was littered with baby care products and other instruments allegedly being used for child delivery.
However, Ogundeji, who was the principal suspect, said she was not operating any baby factory, claiming that what she has is a herbal clinic.
Ogundeji, who admitted she was once invited by the police over the arrest of a Cameroonian, who was accused of stealing a baby, said the suspect had been released after she was investigated.
The suspect said, “I don’t know my offence. I am a business woman. I am operating a natural herbal clinic. I was in my clinic when the people came to arrest me along with other occupants in the house. Some of the people they arrested are my visitors,” she said.
One of the pregnant ladies, Chinazo Miracle, 20, said she is from Imo State and a secondary school leaver brought to the house for treatment in the clinic being operated by the principal suspect.
The suspects had been moved to Lagos in line with the directive from NAPTIP.