ANYONE who hears about Nigeria’s “baby factories” would think it is government’s policy to sustain our high population. The tag creates impressions of facilities turning out babies round the clock. What elsewhere do factories do.
Baby factories produce babies that are for sale to the highest bidders. The operators care more about profit than the motive of the buyers. With the number of facilities security agencies are busting, it is obvious that we have more challenges with these illegalities than are public.
Moreover, calling the illegal facilities that masquerade as hospitals and orphanages, baby factories, give them a veneer of legality. The light punishment, if any, that their operators get, on the few occasions that they are caught, encourages the practice that is assuming a nationwide scope.
There is hardly anything new about organisations that set out as adoption agencies, though the law does not recognise them. They have moved from giving out orphans for adoption, to setting up homes where they “harvest babies”, from teenagers, with unwanted pregnancies, or those who have been coerced to bear children for sale to those who can afford the exorbitant fees. The facilities have “medical facilities” for deliveries and virile young men who impregnate the girls.
Not only are the facilities illegal, they have been mentioned in cases of abduction, stealing of babies and child trafficking. They are mostly managed by quacks who claim medical qualifications, or nurses who have abandoned formal practice for the underworld.
We have to take the cases more serious through stiffer sanctions and programmes that would lift more people out of poverty and free them from desperate decisions some of the recruits into the illegal businesses make.
Sale of babies is a booming trade with international dimensions that stretch further than the recent arrest our security agencies made of a Cameroonian woman who could not account for the new-born baby she had.
Athens, Greece, is dubbed Europe’s capital of the illegal trade in babes. Immigrants from Eastern Europe are lured in Athens and turned into baby makers for European buyers. British baby buyers favour India where they pay surrogates for the service. Americans patronise Chinese and Latin American outlets for babies they adopt, mostly illegally.
Adolf Hitler is credited with setting up baby factories as part of his experiment to produce the super race. Men and women, who met his criteria, were selected, not for marriage, but to produce children whose features would establish Germans as the super race.
What we have in Nigeria is the sale of babies for purposes that could include rituals. Governments have to stop the illegalities, without hurting the chances of those who genuinely want to adopt children.