09 November, 2008

Babies sold in Enugu Clinic

I sold baby delivered in my hospital, Anambra doctor admits
From The PunchBy John Ameh, Onitsha
February 17, 2006—A medical doctor in Anambra State admitted on Wednesday that he sold a baby delivered by a teenage mother at his hospital to a widow.
The PUNCH had reported exclusively three weeks ago that a doctor and three members of his staff were apprehended by the police in Ogidi, Idemili-North local government area of the state over a child-trafficking related crime.
Our correspondent, who had been tracing the doctor, finally found him in police custody in Awka on Wednesday.
Speaking exclusively with our correspondent, the suspect (name withheld), admitted that the baby was sold for N160, 000 to the widow.
He said, I gave N40, 000 to the teenage mother and kept N120, 000. Actually, the N120, 000 covered my own medical bills because the girl was in bed for many days.
The mother of the baby told me that she did not need the baby. I discussed with her after she was delivered and she said that she did not need the baby.
The suspect, who claimed that in medical practice, it was possible for a mother to negotiate the transfer of the ownership of her baby, added that he did not know that what he did was an offence.
He added, This woman was a widow who had no child. She had been coming to me to say that she would be interested in a baby that the mother might like to give up.
So, when this opportunity came, I decided to inform her. The police later came and arrested me and told me that what I did was child-trafficking?
The doctor, who said he had been in medical practice since 1991, denied police allegation that he must have been into child trafficking for long.
He disclosed that the deal backfired after the parents of the teenager discovered that she sold her baby.
Investigators at the State Criminal Investigation Department in Awka confided in our correspondent, on Wednesday, that they were relying on information that the doctor might be a member of a child trafficking syndicate in the state.
We have reasons to believe that he has been in the business for long. He has agents and other contacts. We are only waiting for two things before his prosecution.
We have written to the Federal Ministry of Health to confirm if his hospital is registered. We have also written the Nigerian Medical Association to confirm his status in the organisation, a police source told our correspondent on Wednesday.
Shock-find in Enugu clinic!
*Doctor delivers teenage pregnant girls, sells their babies
From VanguardBy SAM OYADONGHA, Yenegoa
March 11, 2006—RESIDENTS of the Coal City of Enugu were shell shocked last week when news of the discovery of 13 pregnant teenagers who were allegedly abducted by a medical doctor (name withheld) and kept in his private clinic spread round the city. The discovery by members of the State Fostering and Adoption Committee, and staff of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, accompanied by security operatives, followed a tip-off on the illicit activities of the medical practitioner who had earlier been apprehended for a similar offence. Also recovered from the clinic were three newly born babies believed to have been forcefully taken from their mothers.
The doctor, now facing charges of abduction, illegal detention of pregnant teenagers and illegal sale of babies, according to the committee headed by Anglican Bishop of Enugu, Rt. Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma, was first apprehended and charged to court in 2004 for committing the same offence but was later set free. Soon after regaining freedom, he went back to the illicit business and relocated his hospital from New Haven area to Uwani area of Enugu where the business of illegal fostering is alleged to be thriving.
Following rampant cases of illegal child fostering in parts of Enugu State, the state government set up the Committee on Fostering and Adoption, charged with the responsibility of regulating the practice of child fostering and adoption as well as to curb abortion among the youths. The committee has since inauguration swooped on several clinics and private hospitals where doctors carry out such unlawful but lucrative business. When Bishop Chukwuma led members of his committee to the doctor’s hospital, last week, he was shocked by his discovery.
He was outraged by the illicit business of the medical practitioner who allegedly abducted pregnant teenagers and kept them until they were delivered of their babies and later sold the babies to willing buyers. Sunday Vanguard gathered that the babies, depending on the sex and financial status of the buyer, were sold for between N200,000 and N1million while the teenage mothers were intimidated out of the hospital. “The doctor would tell us to pay between N100,000 and N150,000 after delivery and when you can not afford it, he would take the baby. Sometimes, after delivery, you would be told that the baby is stillbirth and you will never see him or her again. The nurses will say the baby has died,” one of the girls told Sunday Vanguard. She added that any insistence by the mother to see the baby would be resisted and she would either be asked to pack her things and leave the hospital or made to pay for services rendered to her throughout the period she stayed in the hospital”.
Many residents in the Coal City who spoke to Sunday Vanguard wondered if the latest suspect and other doctors behind this act are alone in the business. They suspected that there was a powerful syndicate that specialized in trapping pregnant teenagers and keeping them until they were delivered of their babies who would later be sold to willing couples. The latest suspect, who refused to cooperate with the committee during the raid on his hospital, had claimed that officials of the state social and welfare department were fully aware of his activities. But officials of the department quickly denied any involvement in the deal.
The modus operandi of the baby trafficking syndicates had earlier been uncovered by members of the Committee on Fostering and Adoption.
As learnt, the syndicates work through agents spread all over the state and beyond looking for unsuspecting teenagers who may have unwittingly got pregnant. One of the committee members told Sunday Vanguard: “The agents are paid handsome commissions when they bring any of the poor kids to the clinics or hospitals operated by the syndicates. The agents are mostly patent medicine dealers who the pregnant kids run to for abortion.
"They would counsel the girls against abortion and offer to help them out. The help normally ends at the illegal centres where the doctors or operators, pretending to be rendering genuine help to the girl, would provide her with accommodation and medication until the baby is delivered. The pregnant girl will never leave the centre until she puts to bed. In some cases, parents of the girl would be notified by the operators but in most cases the victim is kept without the knowledge of the parents for fear of losing the baby to the parents after delivery”.
Sources at the the state Ministry for Women Affairs declared that they suspected that the perpetrators also serve the interest of ritual murderers who routinely buy human parts for their jobs. “The rampant nature of this illegal business has heightened our suspicion that the babies are not sold to childless couples alone but also to ritual murderers, otherwise it would not be flourishing like this with all we are doing to bring it to an end”, said Fortune Okwoka, the public relations officer of the ministry.
This was corroborated by people living around the latest suspect’s clinic. They expressed fear that prominent persons who visited the clinic regularly could have been involved in ritual activities.Pregnant teenagers
“Everyday you see several cars parked in front of the hospital and we continued to wonder what was going on there. The doctor was living big and he is very popular here with this kind of business. But one disturbing thing here is that these pregnant teenagers who are kept in the house for several months never go back with their babies. In most cases, they are marched out by security men and we have been wondering what was really happening there,” a resident in the neighbourhood said.
The spokesman of the State Women Development Ministry, dismissed the doctor’s claim that he was authorized by the ministry to operate his business. According to him, the ministry did not authorize him or any other person or institution to arrange adoptions or detain pregnant girls. ‘‘This ministry is responsible for adoptions in the state; we have never given this doctor or any one else the authority to do it for us. So if he is claiming we gave him that authority, then he is lying through his teeth”, Okwoka said. He confirmed that the pregnant teenagers recovered from the clinic were being quartered at the Family Support Clinic being managed by the ministry.

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