The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Thursday said it has uncovered a “baby factory” in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
A baby factory in the Nigerian parlance refers to an illegal maternity centre where newly delivered babies are bought off their mothers by the operators of the centre.
According to the NIS, the centre discovered in Ibadan was owned by a woman identified only as Mrs Stella. It is located at Block B, House 8, Adebayo Oke Street, around Sharp Corner in the Oluyole area of Ibadan.
The agency said its officials rescued two female victims, including a pregnant woman, at the centre and arrested three suspects.
NIS Comptroller in the state, Saleh Abdullahi, disclosed this to journalists on Thursday. He said the Zone F unit of the state command discovered the centre.
According to him, the alleged operator of the factory is now at large.
Mr Abdullahi said officials discovered the centre on January 28 while trying to rescue a 16-year-old girl, Mary Yawa, allegedly held by a woman, Kehinde Omotoso, in Awolowo Bashorun area, Ibadan.
The girl was said to have been delivered of a baby at the centre on August 28, 2018.
“In the process of investigation, Yawa, a Togolese, revealed that she was impregnated by one Adewale when she was a housemaid to one Alhaja from Saki,” Mr Abdullahi said.
“A few days to her delivery, the Alhaja took her to Stella, who is not a nurse, where she was delivered of a baby on August 22, 2018.
“After her delivery, precisely on August 27, 2018, the Alhaja, her master from Saki, came to the house with another Igbo woman and took her child away, while Yawa was, thereafter, given to her end user, Omotoso, where she was rescued.
Mr Abdullahi said the pregnant Miss Hadji, also a Togolese, claimed she was brought to Mrs Stella’s baby factory by her brother, Kodjo.
He added that the NIS and the police had been on the search for Mrs Stella and the Alhaja from Saki.
According to him, Mrs Stella’s house was met under lock and key.
He vowed the two women would soon be arrested and prosecuted.
The two victims and three accomplices were later handed over to the representatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
One of the victims, Miss Yawa, whose baby was taken from her, said the Alhaja lied to her that the baby had been given to Adewale’s mother.
She said she did not know the whereabouts of her baby and the said Adewale.
The other victim, Miss Hadji, said Mrs Stella told her brother, Kodjo, that she would assist her to take care of the baby whenever she gave birth.
She said Stella later told her after four days of living with her that the baby would be collected from her after birth and given to the mother of the person that impregnated her.