Eight pregnant women arrested in Nigerian 'baby factory'

The women are said in many instances to take a cut of the money when their babies are sold

Click to follow

Police in Nigeria have discovered an alleged "baby factory", and made a number of arrests which included eight pregnant women; it is claimed that they were planning to sell their newborns for around £1,000.

Some of the arrested women are reported to be teenagers. Police also arrested a woman who they claim oversaw the operation, and her brother-in-law. Investigations are still ongoing. "Following an intelligence report, we discovered and stormed on Friday a baby factory in Akute district of Ogun state," Abimbola Oyeyemi, a police spokesman, told the AFP news agency.

According to reports in The Guardian newspaper of Lagos yesterday, police raided the house, a three-room bungalow, on Friday and discovered the women, saying that the babies would allegedly be sold for 300,000 Nigerian naira (£1,100). Police were continuing to piece together information on any other collaborators to the alleged syndicate.

The state Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye, told the paper that, after an initial search which found nothing, new intelligence brought about a second operation in which they "discovered that the pregnant girls were hidden in the wardrobe".

Nigeria, particularly the south-east regions, has seen a number of raids on supposed "baby factories" since 2011, with more than 100 women having been found in such operations. The case in Ogun state is believed to be the first in a region in the south-west.

Some of these cases have involved black market maternity homes, where some women go to avoid the stigma attached to pregnancies that occur outside marriage. The women are said in many instances to take a cut of the money when their babies are sold, with male children reportedly sold at a premium compared with baby girls.

In a case reported in January from Ondo state, 24 suspects were arrested, including five pregnant women; and in December last year, a home was raided which contained 19 pregnant women apparently staying in order to sell their babies. They were said to be aged between 15 and 23, according to local reports.