Posted by From GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka on
But for the eagle eyes of men of the intelligence unit of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), in Awka South Local Government of Anambra State.....
But for the eagle eyes of men of the intelligence unit of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), in Awka South Local Government of Anambra State, a three weeks old baby boy would have been sold for a paltry sum of N35, 000 by his mother.
The lady, 19-year-old Ifeoma Chukwuma, who hails from Achalla in Awka North Local Government was caught at the premises of the Awka South Local Government Area while trying to negotiate with a buyer over the sale of the baby.
According to the state Commandant of NSCDC, Mr. Sam Ejiofor, men of the corps on intelligence duty noticed the young lady and monitored her movement and apprehended her when it became clear that she wanted to sell off the baby she was cuddling in her arms.
“When our men noticed what she wanted to do, they sent somebody who pretended he wanted to buy the baby and she bargained with the man and agreed on a price of N35, 000. The man we sent asked her to follow him to take the money. That was how she was brought to our headquarters.
“Even in the office here, she signed agreement with the ‘prospective buyer’ and demanded that she be paid in cash”.
Apparently ignorant of those she was negotiating with, which included journalists, the 19-year-old mother of two agreed in the presence of the press that she would sell the child if the N35, 000 cost price was paid.
Narrating her story to Daily Sun, Ifeoma said she was indebted to the hospital where she was delivered of the child through Caesarian section to the tune of N5, 000.
Her story: “I was married before to a woman where I had one baby and had to quit the marriage when I felt and realized that it was immoral for me to be married to a woman. When I left her, because my father is very old and my mother is dead, I moved to Nteje where I squatted with a young lady.”
“I began to sell bitter leaf at the local market and along the line, began to move with one conductor who impregnated me and disappeared after I told him of the pregnancy. I had nobody to help me, I managed the pregnancy with the little money I made from the bitter leaf business.
“When my time of delivery came, I gave birth on June 15, 2006 through surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital Nteje, and was billed N12, 000 out of which I was able to raise N7, 000 leaving the balance of N5, 000. When it became difficult to get help, a nurse there advised me to go out and beg for arms and that was how I came to the local government secretariat.
“After a long time, I found out that I was not getting anything. I thought it wise that if I should sell the baby, I will make enough money to pay the bill, and also to take care of myself and my business, I told some people about it, that if I see who will buy the baby, that I will sell it. It was there that this man and one other man came and we started talking about the price and finally agreed on N35, 000 and they brought me here to pay me the money. I don’t know why this crowd is coming around”.
Meanwhile, the NSCDC state Commandant warned all those involved in child trafficking in the state to desist from it or be ready to face the consequence, as his men were monitoring them and would catch up with them.
Ejiofor said: “The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps nationwide and particularly Anambra State is poised to wipe out all kinds of child trafficking and other related crimes. We will get the perpetrators arrested and prosecuted”.
He said the young lady’s matter was still being investigated to know if she is the real mother of the baby.
The command, he said, will hand her over to the police when investigation is concluded.
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