By Anayo Okoli
Umuahiaâ€”ABIAÂ Â Â State Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, weekend raided two illegal maternity homes in the state and rescued 41 teenage pregnant girls quartered in the illegal homes.
Parading the pregnant girls in Umuahia, the state Commandant of the corps, Mr Nathaniel Ubong, explained that the raid was as a result ofÂ intelligence reports from some good citizens and men of the command.
Ubong gave the name of one of the homes as Double Research Clinic and Laboratory, located in Obingwa Local Government Area of the state, saying that the alleged owner of the home, one Mr. Onyemaechi John, a laboratory scientist was also arrested.
The Commandant said that a Medical Doctor, one Dr Ndudim Hyacinth, who operates the second home was suspected to have been in the business of child trafficking. He was also arrested.
According to Ubong, â€œinvestigations revealed that some of these girls were lured into such homes by friends, who turned out to be agents of these homes, pretending to be sympathetic to their plight.â€
He said that the latest incident was the sixth time the command was rescuingÂ from illegal maternity homes in the state.
He lamented that the issue of child trafficking had been a recurring decimal in the state, saying â€œreliable information showed that such homes, which operate with impunity exist in almost every community in the state.â€
â€œInformation further revealed that Abia State tops the chart of child trafficking states in Nigeria, while ironically the state was the first in the federation to pass the Child Right Act into law,â€ Ubong said.
Ubong said that the state government had provided accommodations for the girls, noting that the girls would be there pending the conclusion of investigations into the matter.
â€œThey came to my laboratory to conduct pregnancy test which turned positive. I persuaded them not to abort the baby that I will keep them under my custody pending when I will register them with a welfare organisation,â€ one of the suspects, John said.
Miss Ogechi Sunday, one of the pregnant girls said that her friend who told her that she was being taken to her grandmother ended up bringing her to the illegal maternity home.
â€œI have been here for one week and our agreement is that they will pay me N1,500 every week and when I deliver the baby I will leave it for them,â€ Ogechi said.