A couple has been arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit in Afam, in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, for selling their day-old child for N250,000.
The couple, Richard and Chidinma Benson, however, said they sold their baby to enable them to leave their village in the Isiala Ngwa North LGA of Abia State to seek better life in a town.
Chidinma had reportedly been delivered of a baby boy at Graceland Maternity Home in Afam on October 7, 2018, and she allegedly sold the baby to one Rose Onyia.
It was gathered that the baby was later resold to another child trafficker, identified as Eucharia Jaja, for N550,000 after which the infant was sold to an unnamed person in Lagos.
The couple told PUNCH Metro that poverty led them to sell the baby, who they said was their fourth child.
Chidinma said, “We sold our baby to one woman (Rose Onyia). I have four children and one is late. The baby was one day old when we sold him for N250,000. I did it with my husband’s approval.
“We wanted to leave the village because we were living in poverty. My husband was a wheelbarrow pusher and we believed that if we sell the baby, we would have enough money to come to a town in Umuahia or Port Harcourt.”
Her husband, Benson Richard, confirmed that they were almost dying of poverty when they decided to sell the baby so that they could leave the village.
“My wife had a big sore in one of her legs and we needed money to treat the wound. At a point, my wife could not walk; that was when we decided to sell the baby boy after he was delivered,” Benson said.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police, IGP Monitoring Unit, Benneth Igwe, said the couple and 13 other suspected child traffickers were arrested in Oyigbo and Ikwerre LGAs based on reliable intelligence.
Igwe said, “The operatives of IGP Monitoring Unit raided Afrique Hotel, Afam, in Oyigbo, Rivers State, and rescued six pregnant women. The hotel is used as a base by suspected child traffickers.
“Information further revealed that on October 7, 2018, Chidinma was delivered of a baby boy at Graceland Maternity Home, Afam. The maternity home is owned by a quack nurse called Grace Daniel.
“The couple were paid N250,000 by one Rose Onyia and the baby was later sold to one Eucharia Jaja from Omagwa for N550,000. Thereafter, the baby was sold by Jaja to a client in Lagos. Our operatives are on the trail of the last buyer to rescue the baby.”
Igwe alleged that the child trafficking cartel had sold hundreds of children within and outside the country, adding that members of the cartel specialised in luring pregnant women to illegal maternity homes for the delivery and eventual sale of their babies.
Apart from the Bensons, Daniel and Jaja, he identified other suspected traffickers as Ikechi Nwanyanwu, Oluchi Ude, Kelechi Stephen, Destiny Sunday, Mary James, Chioma Prince, Ede Loveth, Nmesoma John and Victory Ihunna, who allegedly sold another child for N750,000 before she was arrested.