The transaction was hidden from Christian Duru, the husband of Antonia, according to confessions of the culprits at Trans Amadi Police Divisional Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Tropics NigeriaReporters has gathered.
Joseph said that her mother told her to lie to her husband that the baby had died upon birth. She said her mother threatened to kill her if she revealed the secret.
She said that she agreed to her mother’s plan and lied to the investigators that the baby had died but later confessed that she sold the baby for the sum of N1.4million.
Joseph said that her mother took her to Imo State to have the baby, but her mother conspired with the midwife to sell the baby and warned her never to tell the truth about what happened to the newborn baby.
Then she told her husband when she returned to Port Harcourt what happened, and her husband reported her to the police.
The police arrested her mother and the midwife, and the newborn baby was eventually recovered in Imo State on Tuesday by the police.
Child rights activists and many Nigerians have been raising concerns over the rising cases of newborn babies’ sale and child trafficking in the country.
A human rights lawyer and National Coordinator of the Proactive Gender Initiatives, Barrister Esther Uzoma, blamed lack of evident legal adoption in Nigeria for illegal selling of children.
“We should have certainty of laws, and those who want to adopt should know what to do and how to go about the process. Once it is clear and understandable, the first thing is that it will remove that process of adoption from the black market but because it is not clear, it is so much shrouded in secrecy, and so many things go wrong,” Uzoma said.
Prince Wiro, secretary, Board of Trustee for Centre For Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign in Port Harcourt, said the Child Rights Act must be enforced to punish the perpetrators of crime against children.
“The question is, how many people have they convicted? When the suspects are arrested, in the end, no conviction is secured. This will encourage the suspects more to indulge in such an act,” Wiro said.
He said measures should be put in place to stop health workers from getting involved in the crime.
“The umbrella body of such an organization should live up to their responsibility. They should be able to fish out the quacks among them as a means of curtailing this trend,” Wiro said.
However, the National President, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Abdrafiu Adeniji, said there are measures to address such misconducts if the cases were reported to the association.
“We have the national body, zonal, state and unit branches. Anything that happens in the form of professional misconduct is sorted through this process,” Adeniji said.
He said selling of babies were done by fake midwives, adding that any of their members found guilty in professional misconduct would be deregistered, and the license to practice would be withdrawn.
“You need to investigate very well because people will call themselves nurses but when you go to that state, you will not find their names in the register of the national association of nurses and midwives,” he said. “Anybody that is caught in such an act will be prosecuted. The association will not stop at anything to ensure that members adhere to ethical conduct.”
Adeniji advised Nigerians not to patronize unregistered hospitals, adding that they should demand the identity of the nurses in any hospital they go to seek medical attention.
So far, the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons disclosed that six persons had been convicted this year for child trafficking, adding that the South-East geopolitical zone had the highest cases of baby selling.