A notorious maternity home located in Umunkpeyi, Isiala Ngwa local government, Abia State and reportedly engaged in nefarious activities has been raided by a military unit from the 14 Brigade lead by an army Major.
The raid lead to the arrest of about 20 suspects.
The soldiers released 17 women and three children held in Nma Maternity and Charity Rehabilitation Home to produce children who are sold or given out for illegal adoption.
Abia State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Ugoeze Joy Alozie who disclosed this to newsmen in her office in Umuahia, said the women – 15 of them pregnant, two non-pregnant and three children – were brought to her ministry by 1pm on Monday by an army major.
According to her, the Major said that acting on information from concerned residents, he and his team had raided the maternity home on Friday and arrested the women, who have been held in the home for periods ranging from one week to three months.
The matron of the maternity home was said to have escaped when she allegedly learned about the presence of the security men.
The pregnant girls, who came from various neighbouring states to the state to access the services of the home, were said to be confined to the place and not allowed go out until they were delivered of their babies.
The commissioner said they were still interrogating an elderly woman among them to ascertain the ownership of the child she was carrying when she was arrested.
She wondered why the home should be allowed to function as it had a questionable reputation, and added that despite campaigns and enlightenments by the state government to stop child trafficking, some people were still involved in the nefarious trade.
“When the Major brought them here in a lorry load, most of them looked anemic, tattered and unkempt. When these mothers give birth, their children are sold and they are told they had died,” she said.