By NGOZI UWUJARE
Children are gifts from God and blessings to beautify marriages, but two women and a police corporal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, descended into the abominable by turning them into tradeable commodities. But they are now gnashing their teeth in regret in police custody, following their arrest by men of the Anti-Vice and Child Trafficking Unit of the State Criminal Investigation Department of the Rivers State Police Command.
The chief suspect in the alleged child-trafficking case, 40-year-old Esther Betore, who got the support of her husband, Justice Nworewu, a police corporal, established a contractual arrangement with 50-year-old Virginia Wachuku, a nurse who turned her house into an illegal maternity where pregnant girls gave birth to babies and handed them over for a fee to Betore, who then arranged to sell the babies for much higher sums to willing buyers.
As always happens, their cup of iniquity eventually filled up and spilled leading to their arrest when a young lady, Ugochi Chime, procured by Betore gave birth at Wachuku’s facility on June 18, 2014.
Sunday Sun learnt from the Rivers State Commissioner of Police that Betore had been running the illegal child-trafficking activity for about two years. He also revealed that Betore and Wachuku were members of a syndicate operating in Rivers State, Enugu State and Imo State.
The ungodly activities of the duo of Betore and Wachuku began to unravel when Chime gave birth to a baby girl. Betore convinced Chime to hand over the baby to her since she could not afford to pay the hospital bill incurred in the delivery. Chime eventually agreed after initial resistance, and was given N150,000 for the two-day old baby. Promptly, Betore took the baby away and sold it for the sum of N450,000.
To cover the tracks, Ogunsakin told Sunday Sun that Betore concocted a story for Chime and instructed her to tell her sister that the baby died soon after delivery. But providence was watching and would not allow another baby to end up possibly in the hands of ritualists. Chime’s sister found the story hard to swallow and reported her doubts to the police at Choba Police Station, Port Harcourt. This prompted the arrest of Betore and Wachukwu by the SCID at the Rivers State Police Command headquarters, where they are being held as investigation progresses into the matter.
Corroborating what Ogunsakin said, 20-year-old Chime who is at the centre of the baby-trafficking saga, told Sunday Sun: “My mother is dead and nobody was taking care of me. When my pregnancy was almost nine months, Esther Betore took me to Virginia Wachukwu, a nurse who has a maternity in her house. There I gave birth to a baby girl on June 18, 2014. Betore told me that I should sell the baby to her. I didn’t accept initially but when there was nobody to settle the hospital bill I had to accept and sold the baby. I then handed over the two-day-old baby to Betore while her husband took me to one Orazi-Pixy hotel, Port Harcourt and paid me N150,000.
“Betore told me that if my sister asked about the baby, I should tell her that the baby died after delivery. Immediately I collected the N150,000, I called my second boy friend, Ozoba Ozuba, who took me to Imo State and we spent the money.”
Chime added that when she returned to Port Harcourt, her sister asked about the baby and she told her that the baby was dead. She said that her sister didn’t believe her and reported the matter to the police at Choba Police Station.
In her account of the events leading to her arrest, Betore said: “My second husband, Justice Nworewu is a police corporal. Both of us have been engaged in child-trafficking. I usually go after pregnant girls and would arrange for the hospital where they would deliver the baby. I normally used Madam Wachukwu’s maternity. She is a nurse. It is my husband who usually paid the mother of the baby. Members of my syndicate are in Imo and Enugu State. I usually keep pregnant ladies for months before they give birth.”
Giving further explanations she said: “I was the one that took care of Chime right from when her pregnancy reached nine months before I took her to Wachukwu’s maternity, where she delivered the baby girl. Later I sold the baby to people who needed children. But the police came to arrest me on June 27, 2014.”
All the suspects in the case are due to appear in court soon to answer to charges, Ogunsakin has assured, once investigations are concluded.