exposing the dark side of adoption
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Babies for sale

Babies for sale
THE rising cases of trading in babies in the country should disturb any sane mind. The discoveries by security agents of a booming baby-selling business across the country, particularly in the South-East, are as shameful as they are alarming. With the spate of arrests the law enforcement agents have made over the crime, reason and good conscience would appear to have taken flight from the country.
IRONICALLY, Nigeria is a country that is globally acknowledged for its religiosity. And it is very difficult to reconcile the country’s acclaimed level of religiosity with this barbaric act of trading in human beings. Indeed, it is astonishing and very disappointing that the perpetrators of the dastardly act often use religion and charity as their excuse.
THE arrest, recently, of Mrs. Ben Agocha with a-day-old baby inside a Lagos-bound commuter bus in Enugu blew the lid off the booming baby racket in the acclaimed coal city. Officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had reportedly received a tip-off that Mrs. Agocha was embarking on a trip to Lagos with a-day-old baby. She was accosted and questioned about her connection with the baby. She was also asked why she wanted to subject a-day-old baby to the crushing experience of travelling long hours on the deplorable Nigerian road! Her response was damning. She claimed she was neither the mother of the baby nor did she have any biological link with it. She confessed to have bought the baby from one Dr. Kenneth Akunne for N340,000.
A raid carried out by the security men on Dr. Akunne’s maternity home at 3-6, Anyaegbunam Street, Uwani area of Enugu, was very revealing.  Dr. Akunne, according to reports, had established a “baby factory” in his hospital. Girls between the ages of 15 and 18, numbering 22, were reported to be at different stages of pregnancy in the maternity home. Dr. Akunne was also reported to have been involved in a similar unwholesome practice at a different location, which culminated in the withdrawal of his professional licence by the Nigeria Medical Association. But, it appears, not even his being professionally discredited was severe enough to deter him from wreaking more havoc on the society.
ALSO, recently, some pregnant girls were paraded by the Inspector-General of police, Mr Mike Okiro. The girls were arrested in Aba, Abia State, on the grounds that they belonged to a syndicate that deliberately got pregnant and sold their babies after being delivered of them. Surprisingly, an octogenarian, who was also the matron of an unregistered maternity home in the city, Mrs. Grace Erondu, was discovered to be behind the criminal sale of the babies.
A similar discovery was made at Jabuken Hospital, Umode, in Osisioma council area of Aba; two men and nine girls— six of the girls were pregnant— were arrested by the police in May. The girls’ ages were also between 15 and 20. It was suggested that the two men arrested with the girls were recruited by the owner of the hospital to have unprotected sex with them. Before the police’s arrival, Mrs. Ijeoma Ibekwe, the proprietress of the baby factory, had fled. The number of such cases is getting so long, that it would appear premium is no longer placed on human decency, dignity and good names in Nigeria.
BUT while these babies are sold for pecuniary reasons, it is doubtful if the perpetrators of the inhuman act ever spare a thought for the unfortunate babies or the fate that may befall them. While some of these babies, the lucky ones, may end up in the hands of couples, who could not have children on their own but are desperate to have those they could adopt and raise as their own, a good number actually ends up in the hands of ritualists.
THE rate at which Nigerians appear to be discarding all the treasured values that sustain life is alarming, just as it is appalling. Selling babies, for whatever reason, is a sin against God. And the patrons of this damning business are as guilty as the sellers. Buyers of babies, including couples who buy for the purpose of adoption, engage in an ignoble and criminal act. There are procedures for adopting babies and any person or persons who wish to adopt babies could do so through the official channel rather than taking the criminal route of buying babies and pretending to be the biological parents of such babies.
THE baby sellers have continued to cite the nation’s crushing economic realities as their main reason for engaging in the criminal act. But such a reason – or other related ones— is not enough and is, indeed, too shallow to hide their ignominious and shameful act. The law enforcement agencies, The Nigeria Police and the NSCDC, should ensure that these criminals are promptly brought to trial and made to face the full wrath of the law.
IT is time the government took necessary actions to deal with this problem before it becomes cancerous and causes further damage to the nation’s very thin moral fabrics. It is bad enough that the country is notorious for high level corruption, fraud and related vices; but trading in human beings, for whatever reason, in this day and age, is worse. It is the height of moral decadence and criminality.
2008 Jul 16