Police in Nigeria have arrested a cleric and 16 pregnant women for operating an illegal baby factory in the Rivers State.
The suspects were arrested following a raid on the said baby factory in Port Harcourt. It is owned by the cleric identified called Glory Raphael.
Three other persons helping the cleric to run the baby factory were also arrested as police investigate the incident.
Baby factories in Nigeria usually refer to orphanages operated purposely for profit reasons. Owners of these homes and some parents agree to sell their babies for profit.
Police in Nigeria say in relation to this latest incident, the factory owner, Raphael was engaged in child trafficking in the guise of operating a business.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed told reporters that “Gloria Raphael, who is the General Overseer of Mount Sinai Ministry at Rukpokwu is into the business of child trafficking.
“Sixteen pregnant women awaiting delivery and onward sale of the children to the waiting buyers were arrested. One of them by name Chinyere Nweke had labour yesterday (Friday) and was rushed to the police clinic where she gave birth to a baby girl.”
Pregnant women confess
One of the young pregnant women, according to the PUNCH confessed to be planning to sell her baby.
Sandra Solomon is reported to have said that she was told that she could sell her baby to a church when she discovered that she was pregnant.
Solomon was quoted as saying that “I became pregnant and I did not know what to do. So, a lady told me that they sell babies in that church and I came there. The woman did not tell me how much they sell. I don’t want to sell my baby. As we were sleeping in the church, police came and arrested all of us”.
Nigerian officials continue to battle the sale of babies across the country by individuals or orphanages.