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Octogenarian, doctor arrested for allegedly selling babies

Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Princess. Serah Sosah, with Children celebrate the 2010 Children's Day Celebration held at Police College Ground, Ikeja, Lagos. Photo by Bunmi Azeez.

By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS — The Police in Lagos have detained an 84-year-old woman and a medical doctor for allegedly using her orphanage to sell babies to interested members of the public.

The home has been shut by the state government.

Similarly, the state Ministry of Transportation, MOT, has apprehended a suspect, Mr Akanni Olufemi, for parading himself as an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA.

The arrest and detention of the suspects who allegedly used the home as babies factory, followed a tip-off by members of the public.

It was gathered that the suspects, Mrs Theresa Marques and the medical doctor (name undisclosed) were arrested at Lekki area of the state by Lagos State officials and handed over to the Alausa Police Station.

Officials of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development had first stormed the orphanage at Block 380, Jakande Estate, Lekki on Tuesday and rescued two new born babies, two boys and arrested some young women found at the home.

She was said to have been granted licence by the state government some years ago to operate an orphanage under the name Ife-Oluwa Orphanage Home but Marques ran the orphanage along with an unapproved maternity centre where babies were being delivered. She also has a school there.

Govt shuts orphanage

Following the development, the state government has revoked the licence of the orphanage and shut it.
Officials of the state government claimed that they got a tip off from members of the public that the woman allegedly collected money from people before handing over babies to them in the guise of adoption.

Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth and Social Development, Mrs Busola Ogunkoya, who led the team, said the state government was informed that the old woman was making money through giving out of babies to intended adopters without government’s notice.

Unconfirmed reports had it that Marques allegedly harboured young men and women who engaged in sex to produce children for her orphanage.

Marques denies allegations
Marques denied that she collected money from intended adopters before handing the children over to them but confessed that she asked them for donations which were in most cases around N100,000 to N200,000, adding that this was always done after the process of adoption had been completed.

Chairman of the Lagos State Task Force and Special Offences, Superintendent Adebayo Sulaimon confirmed the arrest of the suspects, adding that they had been handed over to the Police at Alausa for further interrogation.

Fake LASTMA official
Meanwhile, the fake LASTMA official, Olufemi (35), was arrested on Wednesday around Mile 2 area of Lagos.
According to MOT, the suspect when paraded confirmed that he used the LASTMA uniform to extort money from road users in the area. He disclosed that he was employed into LASTMA in 2006 and dismissed in 2007 for stealing car tapes of impounded vehicles at the LASTMA headquarters at Oshodi.

He has since been transferred to the Lagos State Task Force for prosecution.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Kayode Opeifa, has urged the public to be vigilant, adding that a fake LASTMA official does not have a name tag.


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