Amby Uneze writes about the recent police raid of a supposed Motherless Babies Home turned a baby factory
In Umuaka, Imo State, a dilapidated building erected in the centre of the town has become a major attraction following the police raid that exposed the building as a baby factory.
From the tiny building, many pregnant girls and teenagers have emerged in what is now described as a baby factory, but has remained largely unknown to the residents.
Indeed, the news of the baby factory in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State penultimate week has not only created panic in the minds of the people but also smeared the image of the state across the country.
To this end, the Imo State Government, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers and the State House of Assembly have all reacted to bring the trade to an end.
For Instance, the state government has adopted the 24 rescued pregnant young girls by the security operatives who stormed the purported Motherless Babies Home.
The Monarchs have equally banished the proprietor of the Ahamefula Motherless Babies Home, where the 24 pregnant teenagers were rescued by the Police.
The owner of the Motherless Babies Home popular called Madam One Thousand,a Guru Maharaji devotee was said to have hid, the embalmed remains of his mother in his wardrobe for alleged ritual purposes.
Announcing the adoption of the pregnant young girls, and the financial support of N10 million for their up-keep till they delivered their babies, the state governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha expressed shock at the plight of the girls who claimed were taken to the centre under by deception, and describing the development as morally wrong.
Okorocha announced the largesse when officials of the state ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development presented the victims to him at the government house.
The governor who was flanked by his wife, Nneoma Okorocha and members of the State Executive Council, however, appealed to parents to device a way of accepting and handling such situations instead of chasing them away into wrong hands where they will be converted and treated as baby making machines.
The governor, however, ordered the immediate closure of all illegal motherless baby homes in the state, pointing out that henceforth cases of child adoption must have his approval or that of the First Lady. He also ordered the immediate demolition of the centre where the victims were rescued at Umuaka, Njaba Local Government Area, even as he condemned the ugly trend of people making money from child trafficking and other illegal means in the state.
Adding her voice, Mrs. Okorocha, assured that she would take care of the pregnant girls as directed by the governor. Mrs. Okorocha disclosed that her office will engage a doctor that will take care of the girls to avoid complications during pregnancy and described the discovery as divine intervention towards rescuing the state from all kinds of immorality and evil-doings.
Announcing their verdict, the Chairman of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri, said the actions of the owner of the motherless baby home has desecrated the land, noting that all forms of atrocities will no longer be tolerated in the state.
According to the visibly furious monarch, who was flanked by members of his Council, the sale of babies and ritual practices are forbidden in Igbo land and anyone caught perpetrating such acts is not fit to live among the people.
“We are worried by recent happenings in the state. How can someone keep young girls and boys to produce children which will be sold like livestock? It is forbidden by our tradition and these ones will be severely punished to serve as deterrent to others,” he said.
The monarch further described as sacrilege the rising cases of ritual killings in the state, attributing it and other heinous crimes to disrespect for the culture and norms of Ndigbo.
He said: “Our tradition does not condone the mindless killing of innocent people or kidnapping and human trafficking and those that have been caught even after serving their jails terms if found guilty by the law courts, still remain banished from Imo state and the entire Igbo nation.
“What is happening across the country is a result of the disrespect of the traditions and values of the people because no tradition, be that of the Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo or any other ethnic group condones atrocity and terrorism. We need to revive our cultures and return to the traditional ways of doing things.”
Meanwhile the Imo State House of Assembly has summoned the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Child Development, Mrs. Ann Dozie, to appear before the House over the existence of baby factory recently uncovered in the state.
The factory owner, Dr. Chimezie Osigwe was said to have fled the factory during the raid. But some of the girls showed up at the factory pregnant already.
They claimed that they were tricked into thinking it was a safe haven for teenage girls who did not want to keep their babies, but did not want an abortion either. They intended to give their babies up for what they thought was a formal adoption. But once they were in the compound, they were held prisoner by Madam One Thousand - and forced to get pregnant more and more.