Soldiers attached to the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Barracks; 14Brigade Headquarters of the Nigerian Army in Ohafia, Ohafia local government area of Abia State on Sunday raided and rescued 21 heavily pregnant teenagers in Abia State baby factory.
Two babies (a boy and a girl) were equally rescued.
The Nation gathered that a 34-year-old Chef identified as Katherine Oyechi Ngwanma was equally arrested in the raid while the owner of the facility who apparently got wind of the invasion escaped arrest.
The baby factory operated by one Mrs. Nma Achumba located near Umunkpeyi in Isiala Ngwa South local government area of the state.
Mrs. Achumba popularly known as Nma operates the baby factory; Nma Charity Home located near the the popular Umunkpeyi market on Old Umuahia-Aba road under the guise of a Charity Home which she registered with the Abia State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and has operated for several years.
Our correspondent reports that Nma Charity Home has been raided by security operatives from and outside state on several occasions and each time the place was raided, several pregnant teenage girls were rescued while the operator, Mrs. Achumba would escape arrest.
The last of such raids before the Sunday’s operation was in November 2019 when the Imo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force under the leadership of then Police Commissioner, CP Rabiu Ladodo, acting on a tip off raided the home and rescued 14 pregnant teenage girls and 4 children.
It was gathered that the raid was done by the personnel of the 145 Battalion in Umuahia, the state capital.
One of the rescued teenagers who gave her name as Amaka Godwin (23 Years) disclosed that she came into the home without her parent’s knowledge.
Speaking on the Nma Charity Center which has a Signpost written “Approved by Abia State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development” , the Umunkpeyi Village Head Mr Orih Jude said that they have been calling on the state government to sanitize it’s operations in line with the law.
In a telephone interview, the 14 Army Spokesman, Lt. Prince Innocent Omale confirmed the raid.
According to him, the soldiers acted on a tip off.
Lt. Omale disclosed that the rescued pregnant teenage girls have been handed over to the state government.
In a statement issued by the 14 Brigade at the time of filing the report read “REPORT ON RAID OF A BABY FACTORY AT UMUNKPEYI NVOSI”
“On 4 Jun 23, troops of 14 Brigade Ohafia raided a baby factory at Umunkpeyi Nvosi in Isiala-Ngwa LGA of Abia State. The baby factory was operated by one Mrs Mma Lilian Achumba.
“Troops on arrival at the facility rescued 22 ladies out of which 21 are pregnant and 2 babies (a boy and a girl).
“Items found in the place include; a Tiger Generator, a stretcher, Gas cylinder, a bag of rice, 4 cartoon of tin tomatoes, 5 litres of Vegetable oil, 2 bags of Garri and soup ingredients.
“Troops raided the baby factory following an intelligence report that the owner of the factory was selling some of these babies to criminal agents for ritual purposes, and others for child trafficking.
“Furthermore, the woman was also reported to be constituting nuisance in the area as sometimes human parts were seen around the building.
“The owner of the baby factory is currently at large but efforts are ongoing to apprehend her.
“However, one Katherine Oyechi Ngwanma 34 years old, one of the chefs at the facility, was arrested by the troops.
“The pregnant women as well as the babies have been handed over to the Abia State Government for further actions.”
When contacted, the Special Adviser to the governor of the state, Dr. Alex Otti; on Media, Mr. Ferdinand Ekeoma confirmed that the teenage girls were in the custody of the state government.
Ekeoma disclosed that one of the rescued girls; Miss Godwin when they were at Amachara General Hospital in Umuahia South LGA where thy were initially taken to started having contraction and is expected to deliver any time, adding that medical personnel were already on hand to ensure she delivers safely.
According to Ekeoma, the rest of the girls were taken to Madonna College of Health Demonstration Clinic/Hospital Olokoro for rehabilitation and medicare as medical staff at Amachara General Hospital were very few to attend to the expectant teenage mothers because of the ongoing strike of the staffers of the medical facility.
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He expressed hope that the girls would be taken care of at the new medical facility and efforts to reunite some of them with their families after profiling them by tomorrow (Monday).