About three months ago operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, in Enugu State, raided Moonlight Maternity Clinic, where babies from unwanted pregnancies were sold. The operation resulted in the arrest of the clinic’s proprietor and a nurse. It was possible to gather some new details on the illegal baby factory, which are presented in this article.
Moonlight Maternity Clinic occupies a small, dimly lit building with concrete floors tucked between commercial shops in the southeastern city of Enugu. The places like this usually parade as private medical clinics, which house pregnant women and offer their children for sale. In some cases, young women have allegedly been held against their will and raped, with their newborns sold on the black market.
In the case of Moonlight Clinic, mostly unmarried women with unplanned pregnancies arrived there voluntarily or through persuasion.
Their newborns were then sold for several thousand dollars, with boys fetching higher prices. The mother rewarded roughly $200 (N32,700).
Typical was 29-year-old patient of the clinic, Ebere Onwuchekwa, who became emotional when asked about the sale of her son Prosper.
Speaking at the office of a child rights NGO, she said the father demanded she get an abortion, and she refused. Onwuchekwa’s her mother ultimately brought in a “midwife”, who delivered the baby then sold him for about $1,500 (N245,600).
“She took him away… He was a day old,” said Onwuchekwa in tears. After learning what happened, her uncles tracked Prosper down and got him back. The 18-month-old sat quietly on his mother’s lap as she spoke.
When asked about the woman who sold her son, a resentful Onwuchekwa said “she doesn’t want me to say anything about what happened”.
74-year-old proprietor of the clinic, Ben Akpudache, he is out on bail and his facility, which he insisted in a brief, tense encounter was a “registered maternity clinic”, resumed its operation. Akpudache stated he was just trying to “help people in need”.
Authorities said it was not been shut down because they were waiting for the courts to take action, though the NCDC spokesman insisted Akpudache would face justice, as human beings should not be sold like animals.
It would be recalled that when police stormed Akpudache’s expansive, three-storey home in Ogui Eke village, roughly an hour outside Enugu, they found six pregnant young women. One of the women said she wanted to continue studying, not struggle as a single mother. Akpudache’s offer to host her through the pregnancy then sell the newborn seemed a solution.
Therefore the story of this baby factory is not over. This illegal facility re-opened and continues to operate, as problems of child trafficking remain unsolved in our society.