The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) has arrested a 38-year-old herbalist, Mr Chigozie Emmanuel, aka ‘Akuchi’, for selling newborn babies in Abuja.
NAPTIP said in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, that Emmanuel is from Enugu State and the owner of Akuchi Herbal Concept, located at New Nyanya, Abuja.
It said he was arrested “after weeks of diligent surveillance by officers of the Agency and those of the Department of State services’’.
Emmanuel was allegedly “deceiving women into thinking they are pregnant and thereafter giving other people’s babies to them having collected lots of money’’.
“The arrest was based on a previous arrest by the Nigerian Police, of a woman whom they saw with a baby in Abuja enroute Minna, Niger State.
“Based on their suspicion, they detained and questioned the woman on the identity of the baby she carried. She admitted to being a patient of Emmanuel, whom she said administered some herbs to her after years of infertility.
“She thereafter appeared pregnant and was cautioned against going to the hospital for any medical treatment or ante-natal care.
“When it was time for her ‘delivery’, Mr. Emmanuel directed her to Port-Harcourt where a baby was handed over to her. She confessed to paying Mr. Emmanuel the sum of six hundred and fifty thousand naira (N650,000) for his services’’.
The statement added that Emmanuel, who was arrested at the weekend, “is helping in further investigations on sale of human beings and child trafficking’’.
Reacting to the arrest, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli commended the Officers for their painstaking surveillance which culminated in the arrest.
She further warned the public, especially women, to stop patronizing such ‘herbalists’, as the sale of babies is a crime punishable by law.
The NAPTIP boss advised couples who wish to adopt a child to go through the legal means of adoption.
According to her, some of the babies sold to these women were abducted from their biological parents.
She called for more information from the public about any such act or ‘maternity homes’ being run in their neighbourhood.