A 23-year-old pregnant woman caused a stir at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters on Thursday after she confessed that she had sold her unborn baby for N200, 000, in advance.
The suspect, Adaeze Mba, who was arrested for conniving with her husband to sell their neighbour’s four-year-old son for N400, 000, said it was poverty that pushed them to crime.
She confessed that she and her husband, Chibueze, had sold two other children for N700, 000.
She said, “In March 2013, my neighbour’s son, Stanley Ezeaka, was following me about in the compound at Jakande Estate and it was at that time that my husband received a phone call from his partner that she needed a child for sale. My husband then suggested that we took Stanley even though he was a bit old.
“We travelled to Imo State the following morning and sold him for N400, 000 after which we relocated to Calabar.”
When asked why she took to crime and how she would feel if someone bought her own children, she said, “I am seven months pregnant and as I speak to you, my husband has already sold our unborn baby for N200, 000.
“I was against it but he convinced me to agree to it, saying he had already collected the money.”
When asked about the other children she and her husband had sold, she said, “The male child was sold at N400,000 while the female child, who was two months old but is now over a year old, was sold at N300,000.”
Chibueze on his part, said he went into the business last year. He said he had sold ‘only’ three children to his business partner, Benedicta Ogbonna, and maintained that the children were in turn sold to caring parents and not ritual killers.
He said, “One of the children was born by a mentally challenged woman; so I have committed no crime by selling the child to people who would take care of her.”
Ogbonna, who bought the three children from Chibueze and his wife at different times, said she sold children to barren couple.
She said, “I am doing this business for humanitarian reasons and not for monetary gain. I am 35 years old and I have four children. I can never sell my own children and in fact my husband does not know I am into this kind of business.
“Chibueze brought Stanley to me and told me that his mother was a prostitute so he sold him to me at N400, 000. I then sold Stanley to Mrs. Patricia Anibogwu for N600, 000. So far, I have sold only three children. I buy boys at N400, 000 and girls at N300, 000.
“I use the money to take care of people and also invest it in my business. I sell shoes for a living at Anambra Wholesale Market.”
Anibogwu, who was the final buyer, said she thought Ogbonna was an employee of an orphanage. She said she bought Stanley because she was lonely having lost her husband.
She said amid tears that, “I was married for 28 years without a child. After my husband died, I decided to adopt the child because I was lonely. Someone introduced me to Ogbonna. Ogbonna told me she worked at an orphanage and would sell Stanley to me for N600, 000.
“I used my savings to pay for him and she brought Stanley to a roadside. I took Stanley home and started taking care of him like my own child. I changed his name to Uchenna. Ogbonna promised me that she would give me legal documents later but, unfortunately, I was arrested.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, urged parents to be vigilant and also advised childless women to go through the formal process of adoption rather than buying children.
She said, “In March 2013, one Caleb Ezeaka reported at Ilemba Hausa Police Division that his son, Stanley, had gone missing the previous day, adding that he was last seen with his neighbour, Adaeze Mba. All efforts to reach the neighbour proved abortive as she and her husband had disappeared and their phones were switched off.
“Through investigations, we traced them to Calabar and they confessed that they had sold him at N400, 000 to one Benedicta Ogbonna. We traced Ogbonna to Anambra who then said she had sold him to Patricia Anibogwu for N600, 000. So we arrested them all.
“Adaeze and her husband, Chibueze, confessed that they had sold three children to Ogbonna and they were also rescued. One of the children was sold when she was three months old and she is now a year and three months old.”