The criminal activity –the sale of babies by heartless individuals, out to make money in devilish ways had become a thing of serious concern. Modern slavery had become a reality in Nigeria; with the perpetrators no longer the white but by Nigerians. A child trafficking incident involving a female pastor of a Pentecostal Church in Aba in Abia State and some influential people in the area had put justice on trial in the commercial city. The pastor, 40-year-old Paulina Obi running a maternity home for child trafficking, was arrested by the police over the alleged sale of a seven-month-old baby girl.
Others arrested with her included teenage mother of the baby, Grace Chime, Oby Igwe, 42, who was contacted to get a buyer for the baby, and three other women that had bought the child at different stages for different prices.
However, there was a twist in the matter when the police instead of detaining all those involved in the case, allegedly released the buyers as soon as they were brought to the station.
These were people who were very important persons in the society, but they were all released by the authorities at the Police Station in the evening of September 12, a few hours after they were brought in.
That evening, a few minutes after they were brought to the station, the station was besieged by men and women in SUVs and other exotic and luxurious cars, an indication that the persons being held were influential. Phone calls were being made at various points near the station as people went in and out of the station. At about nine o’clock in the evening, the suspected buyers were released, which led to the disappearance of their luxurious cars one after the other.
A relation of one of the arrested women lamented that he even offered more than what the other people paid for his relation to be released, regretting that the police authorities turned him down.
“They paid hundred thousand each, but I offered them one and fifty thousand and they refused, as they probably believe that someone has to be made a scapegoat in the matter. I didn’t want this issue of come today come tomorrow,” the man complained.
The biological mother of the baby, Grace Chime, abandoned her husband in Onitsha and fled to Aba with her baby. The baby was collected from her by the pastor who sought the assistant of Oby Igwe for buyers.
The third person involved in the illegal incident was Oby Igwe, who contacted those that purchased the baby for two hundred thousand. She later resold her to another wealthy buyer who paid five hundred thousand for her. The man then went to the Welfare Department in Aba where he perfected his documents on the child as a legally adopted baby. Grace’s husband, Henry Chime was looking for his wife, later found her in the house of the pastor.
When he asked her of their baby, he was told that the female pastor took the baby to her man for upkeep. But when efforts to see the baby remained fruitless, he suspected a foul play and informed the police.
The police laid siege. From there, they called the couple that bought the baby to come for the final signing of the particular document that was not signed. On hearing this, the couple rushed to the scene for the signing of the document. They were immediately arrested with the baby and taken to the police station on the evening of September 12.
If the criminals got away with their criminality then the evil would never stop. Therefore the law enforcement agents must handle the matter with the seriousness would stamp it out of our society. No matter the status of those involved, the law must be allowed to take its course.