A 54-year-old blind man, his daughters and others have been arrested in Anambra state for “running a baby factory.”
Operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) arrested Geoffrey Okoli who hails from Aguata local government area but failed to apprehend another suspect one Catherine Eze, alleged to be the brain behind the sale of the babies. They said other accomplices are in the SSS custody.
Anambra State Director of the security service, Mr. Alex Okeiyi, told reporters yesterday in Awka that the suspects had been transferred to the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic of Persons (NAPTIP) in Enugu for further investigation.
The suspects allegedly realised N900,000 from the sale of two babies – a boy and a girl – at N530, 000 and N370,000.
The teenage girls, ages 17 and 19, daughters of Mr. Okoli, said they did not benefit from sale of the babies as they were not given any money.
Okeiyi spoke on the case of a teenage pregnant lady “Apprehended in Okoli’s house whose real name is believed to be Anisiobi (19).
“Her Unborn baby was slated to be sold on delivery, unfortunately, the girl started bleeding on July 10 and had to be delivered of a baby girl through Caesarian Section (CS) the same day at the Anambra State University Teaching Hospital Amaku in Awka, but the baby later died”
The main suspect, he said, graduated in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1994 and works as a welfare officer in one of the local government areas in the state.
Narrating his ordeal yesterday at the state headquarters of the SSS, Okoli confessed that he sold the two babies adding that he joined the business last year.
He said: “I sold the boy to one woman at Ekwulobia in Aguata local government area for N530,000.00 last month and the girl that gave birth to him has gone back to her place in Akwukwu in Idemili south council Area”
“I sold the girl whose mother is from Ojoto in Idemili South Council for N370, 000 to a woman, Agulu Ezechukwu, also last month.
“I know that what I have been doing is wrong but, I did it to help those girls who had no place to live when they were driven out of their homes
“I am a social welfare officer by vocation, last year; a lady came to me (Mrs. Kate Eze) in my office and told me that she and the husband have AS blood group, that their children were dying after birth, which made them childless and therefore needed to adopt a baby.
“I advised them to process the needed adoption papers through the ministry of women affairs which they agreed and left and I never knew, it would turn to this level” Okoli said
The suspect’s two teenage daughters arrested alongside their father, (names withheld) told our correspondent that they thought their father was helping people in need without knowing that it was purely for business.