It may sound like a fairy-tale or moonlight story told in a remote village but the truth is that in this age and time in Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence, Lagos, a registered midwife in the state government-run hospital is at the moment helping the police to unravel why she bought a day-old baby boy for N50,000 from his teenage mother who was delivered of the baby in the health facility.
Initial police investigations revealed that the baby-for-sale-chain extends beyond the popular hospital, Maternal and Child Health Centre (MCC), strategically located at First Gate, along First Avenue, Festac Town, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos.
Saturday Sun exclusively gathered that the 19-year-old mother of the baby, Chinyere Amechi had fled her parents’ house in Lagos for almost one and half years during which she got impregnated by her boyfriend, one Nonso Nnamba and ultimately delivered of the baby, which she eventually offered the nurse at MCC, Mrs Virginia Nwauzor who in turn took him to another woman, a 51-year-old member of the syndicate, Mrs. Rose Ekewe to also trade with.
The deal, however, fell apart like a pack of cards when Chinyere returned to her parents as a prodigal daughter. Obviously glad that they eventually found their daughter that has been missing for months, her parents took her to a private hospital for medical check-up. The medical examination, however, revealed that Chinyere had given birth. Armed with the medical report, her parents asked for the whereabouts of the baby but she told them a lie; that the baby had died and buried. Not satisfied with her explanation, her parents probed further and under pressure, Chineye eventually opened up to her parents on how a nurse at MCC gave her N50,000 to get the baby from her. She also alleged that she gave the money to her boyfriend and father of her baby who used it to rent a room apartment at Orile area of the state. With that, the matter was reported to the Satellite police station which had so far invited and quizzed the medical director of the hospital, while the trio of Mrs Nwauzor, Mrs Ekewe and Nonso were arrested and still being detained as the investigation goes on with the baby still missing.
Chinyere’s confession also led to the arrest of three other staffers of the hospital. They include the gynaecologist who took delivery of the baby, the matron in-charge of the nurses and another lady in the administrative section.
Realising that their game was up, Mrs. Nwauzor told the police that she assisted Chinyere to get admitted in the hospital when she learnt of the pathetic situation that she was in. She claimed that Chinyere told her that she was a destitute and needed a home to keep the child once he was born.
Upon delivery, Mrs. Nwauzor took Chinyere and the new born child to the house of her friend, Mrs. Ekewe who was living alone in Satellite town. She claimed that it was Mrs. Ekewe who gave N50,000 to the Chinyere to assist her since she was a destitute. The amount, she said, was meant to help her get an accommodation and start up a little business.
When the police asked Mrs. Ekewe the whereabouts of the baby that was left in her care, she confessed that she handed the baby over to a childless couple since she could not afford to take care of the child. She promised to help the police trace the couple whom she sold the baby to.
Meanwhile, a reliable source at the hospital that witnessed the entire scheme unfold told Saturday Sun that the entire drama happened in the last two weeks when Chinyere was admitted in the hospital. “We were surprised that the young lady who never attended ante-natal in the hospital was suddenly admitted. No one understood why Mrs. Atuanya (as she is known by colleagues) suddenly developed interest in the case and was personally running around to ensure that all that was needed during delivery was provided.
“Even when she delivered, the woman kept saying that she has no money nor family member to come and pay the hospital bill. We were still contemplating what to do to her when we learnt that an anonymous person had paid her bills. Everybody was surprised and even asked her how she did it and she explained that it was God that sent a helper her way.
“It was when the police stormed the hospital with the mother of the child that we understood why she was so nice to the woman,” the source said.
When Saturday Sun visited the hospital, the staff were seen in groups discussing the unfortunate situation. One of the security men on duty lamented that he does not understand why the police had to arrest the medical director whom he said could not have known that the child was sold. “I still find it hard to believe that Mrs. Atuanya (Mrs. Nwauzor) will do such an evil thing. Imagine, N50, 000 for a newborn baby.”
When contacted, Lagos police command spokesman, DSP Joe Offor confirmed the incident and said that he does not have the detail of the matter. “I can confirm that some persons were arrested from Amuwo Odofin maternity hospital over the sale of a new born baby in the hospital. The matter was reported at the Satellite police station while investigation has since commenced.”
However, a senior officer at the police station, who spoke with Saturday Sun, explained that the police are currently searching for the family who bought the baby from Mrs. Ekekwe.sun.