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Nigerians held for trafficking


Lagos - Police in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, have detained 10 suspects on charges they ran an orphanage for child trafficking, a police spokesperson said on Friday, adding that bones believed to be human were found there.

"Ten suspects, including a couple and their daughter, are in our custody and they are currently being interrogated over the allegation," said Ademola Adebayo.

Following a tip-off, the police last week swooped on the Good Shepherd Orphanage in Okota, on the northern outskirts of Lagos, on the suspicion that its staff were engaged in child trafficking and the selling of babies, he said.

A labour room and several pieces of medical equipment for child delivery were found in the orphanage, suggesting that it was used as alternative to hospitals for childbirth.

Six pregnant teenage girls and about a dozen babies were found in the orphanage at the time the police invaded it.

The proprietor of the orphanage and her husband and their daughter were arrested as suspects dealing in child trafficking, the police officer said.

Human parts

Some pieces of bones, suspected to be human parts, were also found on the premises, he said.

"These pieces of bones are being subjected to forensic analysis to determine whether or not they are human parts," Adebayo added.

There are reported allegations that the bones were those of babies who died and who were either buried or burnt in the orphanage, duly registered by government.

The police and officials of the Lagos social development ministry have sealed off the orphanage.

The police spokesperson said that suspects indicted during current investigation would be prosecuted.

Human trafficking and the sale of human body parts are rampant in Nigeria and government efforts to fight the crimes have not yielded appreciable success.

2005 Mar 4