The Imo State police command yesterday uncovered another illegal orphanage popularly referred to as ‘baby factory’.
The home which is registered as a non-governmental organization known as Ezuma Women and Children’s Rights Protection Initiative, was used by one Dr. James Ezuma as a cover for his heinous activities of encouraging teenage girls to get pregnant and after giving birth, paid N100,000 on the condition that they would abandon their babies.
Ezuma, a native of Ndiokeke Ndiakunwanta in Arondizogu in Ideato Local Government Area of Imo State, was arrested in his residence at Egbu Road, Owerri which also doubles as the address for his NGO and paraded alongside 16 pregnant teenage girls.
Addressing newsmen during the parade of the suspect, the state Commissioner for Police, Mr. Muhammad Katsina said, “You may wish to know that when a search was conducted in the premises being used as an office for an NGO, 16 pregnant teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 19 years, who are at different stages of pregnancy, were seen. Also recovered in the premises was an automatic eight loader pump action gun which is a prohibited firearm”.
Mr. Katsina also expressed worry about a missing baby, who was sold to unknown persons.
He said the baby was delivered on November 24 by one Chinaza Nnachi, a native of Ebonyi State, who came to the home when she was stranded during pregnancy but that all efforts to locate the child have proved abortive as the suspect has refused to lead the police to where the baby is.
“So far he has taken us to Abia State, where he said the baby is but we were unable to recover the baby; though investigations are still ongoing, the presumption at the moment is that the baby may have been used for ritual purposes”.
Corroborating the Imo CP’s statement, Miss Nnachi, 19, said she was directed to the home by a lady who assured her that she would be taken care of. She added that two hours after she gave birth to her baby, a boy, he was taken away from her without her consent.
When she probed further on the whereabouts of her baby, Nnachi claimed that Ezuma gave her N100,000 and asked her to look no further for the child.
The police boss also alleged that the suspect was a gun runner, who had earlier been arraigned for unlawful possession of firearms.
“It is pertinent to mention that the suspect was arraigned before an Owerri Chief Magistrate Court 1 in November 2013 for the offence of conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms”.
Other items recovered at the ‘orphanage’ include 10 unregistered vehicles which the suspect claimed to own but when asked to provide proof of purchase or ownership, he could not.
The Imo State police boss, therefore, admonished parents and guardians to be vigilant and ensure that their children do not fall victim of exploiters, adding that the command would continue in its campaign to rid the state of such businesses of trading in unborn babies and ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.