The four women paraded by NAPTIP
By Our Reporter
This is the bizarre story of how four women were arrested by the operatives of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) over the sales of a newborn baby for N1.5m.
According to NAPTIP, two of the women, Bernadette Ihezuo and Cecilia Onyema, are civil servants with the Federal Ministry of Finance Abuja, and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, respectively. The third suspect, Okasi Ekeoma, is said to be Onyema’s sister, while the fourth suspect is the baby’s mother Harrieth Nmezi who resides in Imo state.
Parading the suspects on Thursday in Abuja, NAPTIP Director-General, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli said that they were all arrested by operatives of the agency following surveillance activities.
According to the DG, the teenage girl who got pregnant while living with her mother was carried to Onyema’s residence in Nasarawa where she lived until she delivered her baby. She added that after delivery, “the other women took the child from the young mother and sold off the baby. They were however arrested following a tipoff”.
“In the early hours of Aug 23, operatives of the agency raided number 1,314 Bridge St., Sabon Gari, Mararaba, Nasarawa State, the residence of Onyema and rescued a 16-year old girl from Imo, who just gave birth to a baby boy. The boy was sold at N1.5 million to Chinonso. Further investigations took the operatives to Owerri, Imo capital where the arrest of Ekeoma (Sister to Onyema) who brought the pregnant girl to her sister was carried out. Also arrested in Owerri is the mother of the young girl, Nmezi. The women arrested in Owerri masterminded the movement of the girl from Owerri to Mararaba and made the transaction with the buyer and also received money from her.”, the DG narrated.
“The baby has been rescued while the suspects have confessed to the crime and will be arraigned in court soon”. she added.
Okah-Donli said that the illegal acts of the women contradict the provision of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015. She, however, called on women desperately in need of babies to approach appropriate agencies recognisable by the law.
The DG said that the agency had intensified surveillance in some of the notorious spots across the country most, especially within some orphanages whose activities were shrouded under suspicion.