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SALE AND PURCHASE OF BABIES

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Ubiquitous as crimes are in Nigeria, sale and
purchase of babies were hardly on the table
until recently. As gifts from the Almighty,
Nigerian families celebrated the arrival of
new babies and nurtured them with all sense of appreciation
and responsibility. Indeed, care for babies
was regarded as personal and family contribution to
posterity and a better society. Not any more these
days, it seems, as these values have been blighted by a
few charlatans who, for personal but obscene reasons,
specialize in criminally commercializing these precious
gifts and thus doing a collateral damage to the nation’s
image and integrity.
The existence of baby factories in Nigeria has caught
media attention across the world. The menace child
sale and purchase is struggling for headline space with
notorious crimes like Boko Haram killings, kidnapping,
pipeline vandalism, human trafficking, among others.
The United Nation Educational Scientific and Cultural
Organisation ranks human trafficking the third most
common crime after financial fraud and drug trafficking
in Nigeria while the United Nations says at least 10
children are on offer across the country, with offenders
being seldom apprehended. The National Agency for
the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons says babies are
sold for up to $6,400 each, depending on the sex. Other
reports aver that babies are now on offer at prices ranging
from N200, 000 to N400, 000 depending on the
sex of the baby.
Conception and birth of new babies are being undertaken
for the wrong reasons by shameless individuals,
hospital staff, including doctors and nurses, who, ordinarily,
should be agents of child delivery and care. Baby
farms or baby factories are growing concerns patronised
by notorious human traffickers, childless couples and
ritualists in the South-eastern part of the nation and
part of the South-South, with the danger of it extending
to other parts of the country, if not checked.
In 2011, the Abia State Police Commissioner, Bala
Hassan, said his team rescued 32 pregnant girls mostly
between ages 15 and 17 who were locked up at a clinic to
produce babies for sale to human traffickers.
In May 2013, a middle-age woman, Adaeze Mba,
and her husband were arrested in Lagos for selling
an unborn baby in advance for N200, 000 and their
neighbour’s four-year-old son for N400, 000. They also
confessed selling two other children for N700, 000.
While teenagers carrying unwanted pregnancies are
sometimes lured to clinics and then forced to hand over
their babies, others, according to reports, are offered
money ranging from N40, 000 – N70, 000 for male
child and N20, 000 – N30, 000 for the female. Some
girls have turned baby making for profit into business
as they willingly return to baby factories to get pregnant
for a fee after each delivery.
It is obvious that the menace thrives because our
respective governments are incapable of enforcing their
laws on this criminal act.
Section 30 of the Child Rights Act, 2003 states that,
“No person shall buy, sell, hire, dispose of or otherwise
deal in a child … A person who contravenes this section
shall be liable to 10 years imprisonment.” Yet, this law
notwithstanding, violators are hardly brought to justice
even when the criminal act has become a national embarrassment.
There is a need for our relevant security agencies to
firm up their intelligence gathering mechanism while
the judiciary should ensure that offenders are brought
to book. As vehicles of procreation, nay life, women
professionals in the nation’s security agencies and the
judiciary should stand up to be counted in the war
against the sale of God’s gift by insisting on speedy and
thorough prosecution and adjudication of child sale and
purchase cases.
Civil rights organisations, especially their women
arms, should take this as a challenge. Women organisations
who staged a peaceful protest against the mindless
killing of school children in Yobe State should
extend the same service to the menace of baby factories.
Besides, they should impress it upon their husbands in
power to find a lasting solution to the cankerworm.
Whistle blowers have played prominent roles in the
detected cases so far, but the war will be gallantly fought
and won when every Nigerian is involved.

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