A 38-year-old herbalist, Mr. Chigozie Emmanuel aka Akuchi has been arrested for allegedly selling new born babies in Abuja.
Emmanuel was arrested by operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP). According to NAPTIP, Emmanuel, from Enugu State, is the owner of Akuchi Herbal Concept, located at New Nyanya, Abuja.
Mrs. Nneka Aniagoh said in a statement issued on behalf of the Head, Press and Public Relations of NAPTIP, that the suspect was arrested “after weeks of diligent surveillance by officers of the agency and those of the Department of State Services (DSS).’’
She said: “Emmanuel deceived women into making them think they were pregnant and thereafter, would give other people’s babies to them, having collected lots of money. The arrest was based on a previous arrest by the police, of a woman whom they saw with a baby in Abuja en route to Minna, Niger State.
“Based on their suspicion, they detained and questioned the woman on the identity of the baby she carried. She admitted to being a patient of Emmanuel, whom she said administered some herbs on her after years of infertility.
“She thereafter appeared pregnant and was cautioned against going to the hospital for any medical treatment or ante-natal care. “When it was time for her ‘delivery,’ Emmanuel directed her to Port-Harcourt where a baby was handed over to her.
She confessed to paying Emmanuel N650,000 for his services.” Aniagoh added that Emmanuel, who was arrested at the weekend, “is helping in further investigations on sale of human beings and child trafficking”.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs. Julie Okah-Donli, commended the officers for their painstaking surveillance which culminated in Emmanuel’s arrest. She warned the public, especially women, to stop patronising such ‘herbalists,’ as the sale of babies is a crime punishable by law.
The NAPTIP boss advised couples who wish to adopt a child to go through the legal means of adoption. According to her, some of the babies sold to these women were abducted from their biological parents. Donli called for more information from the public about any such act or ‘maternity homes’ being run in their neighbourhood.