By Anayo Okoli
Umuahiaâ€”ABIA State Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC),Â said it hasÂ rescued about 17 young ladies said to be held against their will, in an alleged illegal maternity home located at Amarorji-Ukwu village inÂ Obingwa Local Government Area of the state. 14 of them are pregnant while four had recently delivered their babies.
The young ladies were said to have been kept behind closed doors in the maternity until they conceive and deliver babies, who are eventually put up for adoption toÂ unsuspecting members of the public. And in some cases, the babies would be outrightly sold. They were arrested at the Daughters of Zion Rehabilitation Centre.
According to sources at the NSCDC, the proprietress of the Maternity Home is said to have claimed to be a pastor of a pentecostal church in the area, a cover she allegedly used to carry out the said illegal business.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Corps, Mr. Soji Alabi, the proprietress of the home, one Pastor Ngo Michael was alleged to have been earlier fingered in child trafficking, illegal adoption and sale of babies business.
Alabi explained that several attemptsÂ had been made to bring her to book, which proved abortive until recentÂ information was provided, which ledÂ to her apprehension.
But Michael claimed that her maternity home, named Daughters of Zion Rehabilitation Centre was registered with the Welfare Association and not the State Ministry of Women Affairs.
Alabi noted that cases of child trafficking and illegal adoption of children perpetrated through such maternity and rehabilitation homes have become rampant in Abia State. According to him, many of such illegal homes had been raided in the past. He explained that the proprietress was later arrested and that she had confessed that she had been in the business for three years.
Alabi announced that 17 young ladies,Â aged between 14 and 24 were eventually arrested, and that 13 of them are pregnant while the other four had delivered through caesarian operation.