Nigeria 'baby farm' girls rescued by Abia state police
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Nigerian police have raided a hospital in the south-eastern city of Aba, rescuing 32 pregnant girls allegedly held by a human-trafficking ring.
June 1,2001 / BBC News
Aged between 15 and 17 years, the girls were locked up and used to produce babies, said Abia state's police chief.
These were then allegedly sold for ritual witchcraft purposes or adoption.
But the hospital's owner denied running a "baby farm", saying it was a foundation to help teenagers with unwanted pregnancies.
The UN organisation for the welfare of children, Unicef, estimates that at least 10 children are sold daily across Nigeria, where human-trafficking is ranked the third most common crime after economic fraud and drug-trafficking.
Male babies prized
Abia state Police Commissioner Bala Hassan said four babies, already sold in an alleged human-trafficking deal but not yet collected, were also recovered in the raid on The Cross Foundation hospital.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (Naptip), the organisation charged with fighting human-trafficking in Nigeria, says their investigations show that babies are sold for up to $6,400 (£3,900) each, depending on the sex of the baby.
Male babies are more prized, says the BBC's Fidelis Mbah in the southern city of Port Harcourt.
In some parts of the country, babies killed as part of witchcraft rituals are believed to make the charms more powerful, he says.
Human traffickers also put the children up for illegal adoption.
Poor, unmarried women face tough choices if they get pregnant in Nigeria, often facing exclusion from society, correspondents say.
Natip says desperate teenagers with unplanned pregnancies are sometimes lured to clinics and then forced to turn over their babies.
Some of the girls rescued in Aba told the police that after their new-born babies were sold, they were given $170 by the hospital owner.
The police said the proprietor of The Cross Foundation, Dr Hyacinth Orikara, is likely to face charges of child abuse and human trafficking.
Our correspondent says the buying or selling of babies is illegal in Nigeria and can carry a 14-year jail term.
The police carried out similar raids on such clinics in neighbouring Enugu state in 2008.
Three years ago, a Nigerian woman was jailed in the UK for trying to smuggle a baby into the country in order to get on the list for a council flat.
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Baby farms are nothing new in Adoptionland.
The hundred-thousand question is, how much are babies fetching in the international adoption market-plan from Nigeria these days? And if an adoption-plan cannot be hatched, how does the price menu change/compare to selling babies for witchcraft?
More like selling babies for Pentecostalism
Despite the salacious accounts in the article, I doubt witchcraft is anywhere near part of the picture. Nigeria has doubled it's Charismatic/Pentecostal/Prosperity Gospel population in the past generation.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God is a Nigerian-based Pentecostal church which is bent on reverse-missionizing the west. http://www.religionnewsblog.com/category/redeemed-christian-church-of-go...
I can almost guarantee these church networks are part of or contribute to Nigerian ICA networks in the west, particularly former colonizer Britain, and also the US. I will eat my hat if not.
Originally settled by the Ngwa Clan of the Igbo people, the current location of the city is based on land conceded to the British crown by the Eziukwu - Aba community. It eventually became an administrative center of Britain's colonial government. Aba has been a major commercial center since it became part of the old Eastern region. In 1901, the British founded a military post in Aba; in 1915, a railroad was constructed to link it to Port Harcourt, this transported agricultural goods such as palm oil and palm kernels. in 1929 Aba was the site of a revolt by Igbo women, historically known as "The Aba Women's Riot", a protest of the colonial taxation policy. During the height of Nigerian-Biafran War in 1967, the capital of Biafra was moved to Aba from Enugu.
Aba is surrounded by oil wells which separate it from the city of Port Harcourt, a distance of about 30 km; a 30 kilometer pipeline powers Aba with gas from the Imo River natural gas repository. Roads lead to Aba from Port Harcourt, Owerri, Umuahia, Ikot Ekpene, and Ikot Abasi.
The city has played a lasting role in the Christian evangelism of the Southeast of Nigeria since the British brought the Church Missionary Society (CMS), an evangelism vehicle of then Church of England used to plant what today has become the Anglican Church of Nigeria. In 1923, the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA Church) was established . The Seventh-day Adventists are well known for their Biblical faith, quality hospitals and good educational institutions.
St. Michael's Cathedral Anglican Church was founded in the late 1920s although St. James Parish on the city edge (Umule) is arguably the oldest church because the diocese's first mass was celebrated in 1916.  Most of the Primary and Secondary Schools mentioned above were founded by the CMS along with each of their Churches.
The Catholic Church was to follow and also created many churches; St. Joseph Cathedral, which for a long time was the biggest church in the city became its bishop's seat. Like the Anglican church, the Catholic Church attached schools to their churches with St. Joseph Girl Secondary School being of the best schools in the city.
With the arrival of the Pentecostal brand of Christianity (the evangelicals) in Nigeria, the city got an enormous share for itself. The Assemblies of God Church, being among the earliest, the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, etc. had massive following in the early 1980s. African Gospel church was found by most Bishop Ogudoro the Founder of African Gospel church. African Gospel church is divided into 10 districts. The present Bishop of African Gospel church is Bishop Uzoaru (2009).
In the late 1960s, a group of Nigerians discovered information on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and established branches , but the Utah based church did not establish any official presence until the late 1970s when blacks were allowed to hold priesthood authority . Aba has several congregations and a temple.
Muslims and mosques are also present in Aba; the largest mosque is the Hospital Road Mosque. A Chief Imam is resident among the Hausa-speaking settlement in the heart of the city itself.
So, capital of the infamous Biafra of our generation's original save the babies campaigns; long-time Seventh Day Adventist and Evangelical stronghold, now a Pentecostal and LDS hotspot.
Selling kids into "witchcraft", my rear end...
More on the subject of supply and demand...
If you look at adoption export numbers, you will see the USA if getting stiff competition from the EU. Ah yes, let us not forget all those baby-seekers living in Sweden, Germany, Italy and wherever else local orphans are not as readily available for those ready and willing adopters who are not so keen on waits that go past that of a gestation.
Hm.... unplanned pregnancy brings shame to the girl's family; abortion is illegal, and selling the baby to orphanages/adopters is also illegal (UNLESS, of course, a third-party bureaucratic paper-pusher/lawyer is involved, and gets paid for honorable services that prevent a home-made/back-alley abortion).
What is a female facing a 'crisis pregnancy' supposed to do?
Gee... doesn't at ALL remind me of Maternity Homes and and how salaries for a health/social service often gives birth to a thriving profit-procuring international infant adoption market, one that can beneft even the most despressing and oppressive regions of the world.
More amazing is how pro-lifers, who happen to be infertile, do not see the way in which their desire for one of these available yet 'unwanted babies' enables, (even encourages), corrupt trends frequently seen in Adoptionland... trends that harm vulnerable children who happened to have been abandoned by their fathers... and left with unsupported mothers who are NOT land-owners. [Can we all agree negligent care, whether it be in a state orphange or private foster home, is NOT in a newborn's "best interest"?]
So... the children born into this fine social mess will have a life-time of abandonment issues (with or without abuse issues, depending upon the level of care the lucky bastard received via chosen care-taker); the mothers will get 14 yrs to life in prison... and the proud sperm donors? What do they get out of this classic adoption family portrait? A slap on the wrist? A free pass to sow more seeds? If we're really lucky, an unknown disease... one that will be passed to more women and children?
I'm feeling quite ill. I think I need my bottle, ASAP.