From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
A couple, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Benson has admitted selling their day-old baby boy for N250,000 to settle debts and relocate from their village in Isiala-Ngwa North in Abia State to the city.
Benson’s wife, Chidinma, 29, told The AUTHORITY that the decision to sell the baby was conceived by her, and later convinced her husband, that instead of continuing with their suffering in the village they should sell the baby and use the money to settle their about N10, 000 debt and relocate to a city with their other children for better livelihood.
When paraded with other suspected child traffickers at the Office of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Tuesday, Chidinma, a mother of three children, said that the syndicate in charge of the baby factory where she gave birth to the baby, sold him (baby) at N500, 000 but paid her family N250,000.00 as agreed.
Mrs Benson, who said her resolve to sell the baby was to improve the family’s living condition, admitted thatshe lured her husband into the crime.
She said: “I have given birth to four children, one is late. I have two now. When I became pregnant of this baby boy I told my husband that we will sell the baby and use the money to relocate from my village to the township to start a better life, he refused but I forced him into agreeing with my plan.
“My husband is a labourer, he is a wheelbarrow pusher. I owe debts everywhere and I need to clear them. We were owing N10,000 and the hardship was too much for me. I went everywhere without help. My father is dead and living in the village was tough for us. We wanted to leave the village for the township; that is why we sold the baby to enable us rent an apartment.
“So, we sold the baby for N250, 000 even when the woman told us she sold the baby forN500, 000”, Chidinma said.
The Commander of the IGP Monitoring Team, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Benneth Igwe, said that the team rescued six pregnant women and arrested seven child traffickers in connection with the ignoble trade.
Igwe said: “Upon reliable intelligence information about a notorious child trafficking cartel operating in Obigbo/Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area and Omagwa, Aluu in Ikwere Local Government Area of Rivers State, the operatives of IGP monitoring unit burst Afrique Hotel in Oyigbo and rescued six pregnant women awaiting delivery for tracking. The hotel is used as a harbinger by suspected child traffickers.
“Information further revealed that on October 7, the suspects: one Richard Benson and his wife, Chidinma, was delivered of a baby boy at Grace Land Maternity Homes, Afam, Oyigbo. The maternity is owned by a quack nurse called Grace Daniel. After the delivery, the parents were paid N200,000 by one Mrs. Rose Onyia who later sold it to Mrs Eucharia Jaja, a resident of Omagwa for N500,000 and thereafter, the baby was sold by Mrs. Jaja to her potential client in Lagos.”
Igwe who stated that the team is on a trail of the suspects to recover the baby, added that “the cartel has trafficked hundreds of children across the globe. It specialises in luring pregnant mothers, within the married and unmarried class, harboured for months and takes them to illegal maternity homes for delivery. The cartel pays N150, 000 for a girl child and N200,000 for a baby boy. The baby is later trafficked to unknown destination for amounts between N1 million and N1.5 million,” he said.
One of the prime suspects, Euharia Jaja, 48, told The AUTHORITY that she sold the baby boy for N750, 000.
Mrs. Jaja, who is a mother of four, said that she has sold over four babies since her involvement in the illegal business over a year ago.
Other suspects paraded by the police were Rose Onyia, Chike Onyie, Uche Jaja, Ikechi Nwanyanwu, Oluchi Ude, Grace Daniel, Kelechi Stephen, and Destiny Edet.
Others were Mary James, Chioma Prince, Ede Loveth and Nmesoma.