About 32 pregnant teenagers have been rescued from a maternity home at Umuzuo, Osisioma local government area of Abia State.
Investigation has revealed that the victims were induced to sell a baby boy for N100, 000, while a girl goes for N80, 000.
Investigation further showed that the owner of the maternity home, in turn sales the baby boy for N450, 000, and a girl for N400, 000.
Mr. Victor Ogbonna, the state NSCDC public relations officer, presented the pregnant teenagers to journalists in Umuahia yesterday.
Ogbonna said that the proprietor of the centre, Nnenna Mba, and two men – Mba Agbai and Chinwoke Mba – who allegedly aided and abated the act, were arrested by the NSCDC.
The proprietor of the home denied claims that she induced the victims to sell their babies.
Mba said the centre officially registered with the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, was meant to assist pregnant teenagers.
Chinwoke Mba, one of the suspects, claimed he was a member of the Abia State Vigilance Service, deployed officially to the centre.
He said that the NSCDC officials overpowered him before the arrest.
“I told them I was posted to the centre officially by vigilance service and since the arrest, the NSCDC officials refused to allow me contact anybody, including the state office of the service,’’ he said.
Mr. Martins Idika, the Commander-General, Abia State Vigilance Service, told NAN that the unit commander at Osisioma reported case of the arrest of one worker on duty by the officials of NSCDC on April 3.
Idika said the matter would be adequately looked into to ascertain if there was any complicity by the worker.
Ogbonna said that the proprietor of the centre, Nnenna Mba, and two men – Mba Agbai and Chinwoke Mba, – who allegedly aided and abated the act, were arrested by the NSCDC.
Ogbonna said the NSCDC discovered that the home was established in 2009, but got registered with the state government in December 2012.
Ogbonna said that the relatives of the victims had been contacted to reunite them with their people.
This would be the third time that a baby factory would be discovered in Abia. The first time was in 2011, where the proprietor of The Cross Foundation, Dr Hycinth Orikara, was arrested for allegedly operating a maternity home the police described as baby factory.
New babies were reportedly born and sold apparently at the baby factory without due process of adoption.
The report also had it that the babies were usually taken away and their mothers discharged after being paid some amounts ranging from N25,000 and N30,000 depending on the sex of the baby; they were later sold to the highest bidder.
Again, a detachment of soldiers belonging to the 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Abia stormed a notorious maternity home in Umunkpeyi , Isiala Ngwa local government area and released 17 women and three children held in the home to produce children either to be sold or given out for illegal adoption.