By Ben Duru Correspondent, Umuahia
Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abia State command, has rescued about 17 young ladies allegedly held against their will by an illegal maternity home at Amarorji Ukwu village in Obingwa Local Government Area.
Daily Independent gathered that the young ladies were kept behind closed doors to deliver babies that would eventually be adopted by unsuspecting members of the public, and that proprietor of the home pretends to be pastor of a Pentecostal church in the area.
Public Relations Officer of the Corps, Soji Alabi, who represented the commandant, said in Umuahia that proprietress of the home, Pastor Ngo Michael, had earlier been fingered in child trafficking, illegal adoption and sale of babies.
He explained that several traps set to bring her to book proved abortive as she escaped from the law each time they attempted to arrest her.
The spokesman pointed out that cases of child trafficking and illegal adoption of children perpetrated through such rehabilitation homes had become rampant in the state, especially in Aba and environs.
He said that available records with the NSCDC showed that not less than six of such raids were carried out on illegal maternity homes each year.
Alabi explained that the latest raid on November 25, 2009, followed a tip-off and that the proprietor escaped, but some young ladies still pregnant were found.
According to him, the 17 young ladies aged between 14 and 24 were eventually arrested, adding that 13 of them were still pregnant while four had delivered through caesarian operation. He added that the vicinity of the maternity was an eyesore.
He also lamented that the proprietress, who was caught a day after the raid following a surveillance mounted by officers and men of the command, later confessed that she had been in the business for three years.
Head, Disaster Department of the command, Mrs. Bridget Ogolo, who is a certified nurse, said that examinations carried out on the suspects showed that some of them had developed infections.
She, however, said the command would ensure that those that developed infections would be treated and other tests carried out on others before any further action would be taken.
But the proprietress (names withheld) who spoke from hospital bed following an earlier ailment, said her maternity home, Daughters of Zion Rehabilitation Centre, was registered with the Welfare Association, not the state’s Ministry of Women Affairs.