BY DAYO JOHNSON
AKURE — A Baby factory has been uncovered in Ilu-Titun in Okitipupa council area of Ondo State by the state command of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.
At least 24 suspects were arrested in connection with the illegal establishment.
Among those nabbed by the anti-trafficking detectives of the command included five pregnant women, five nursing mothers, five babies, two of which are less than a month old and eight men whose duty it was to impregnate the women.
Also, some guards of northern extraction were picked.
The arrest of the proprietor of the baby factory, Mrs Happiness Ogundeji, was after several months of intelligence gathering and discreet surveillance by officials of the command.
The suspects were paraded before newsmen at the command’s headquarters in Akure, yesterday, by the state’s comptroller of NIS, Mr Musa Al-Hassan.
According to reports, the proprietor, Mrs Ogundeji had to relocate to Ondo State after she was arrested in Imo State for a similar offence.
Al-Hassan told newsmen that following a tip-off, the suspects were rounded up at their hideout by a combined team of his officers and military operatives.
According to him, the suspects had earlier resisted arrest following which they reinforced to effect the arrest.
Vanguard gathered that the illegal operation was being carried out at a well-secured two-flat apartment in the town.
The proprietor was said to have pretended that the baby factory was a natural healing home.
It was gathered that young girls between the ages of 19 and 25 were recruited into the home where some young men purposely work to impregnate them.
Once a girl is pregnant, she is separated from those yet to be impregnated.
After delivery, the girls are offered ridiculous amount, their babies taken from them and sold to rich men and women who pay millions of naira, depending on the sex of the baby.
Twins are said to be the costliest as they go for N2.5 million.
It was learnt that the Abuja office of the command learnt of the operation of the syndicate in Ondo State following a tip-off from Cross River State Command and it subsequently directed both the Ondo and Imo State commands to investigate the allegation.
Consequently, the anti-human trafficking officials of the state command led by Obisesan Abiola acting on intelligence reports burst the syndicate.
It was further discovered that the proprietor is assisted in the factory by a Cameroonian.
Al-Hassan said the command would always collaborate with sister agencies to rid the state of criminality.
One of the pregnant girls in her early twenties simply called ‘Grace’ claimed to be a student of Lagos State University, LASU, and is engaged to the son of the proprietor.
The supposed husband insisted that his mother had not committed any crime while the proprietor denied operating a baby factory.
Ogundeji said she was operating a herbal natural clinic.
Items discovered at the factory were eight luxury cars, foodstuff, baby items, among others.
Meanwhile, all the suspects are to be transferred to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, headquarters in Lagos after preliminary investigation by the officials of the command.
The house used for the illegal business had been sealed off by security operatives.