The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons said it arrested a 38-year-old herbalist, Chigozie John Emmanuel, A.K.A ‘Akuchi’, for allegedly selling a newborn baby.
The Head, Press and Public Relations of NAPTIP, Mr Josiah Emerole, in Abuja a statement on Sunday, said that the suspected trafficker sold the newborn baby to a woman whom he promised to make pregnant through spiritual means.
He said that Emmanuel, who hailed from Enugu State, owned Akuchi Herbal Concept at New Nyanya, Abuja.
He was arrested after weeks of surveillance by officers of the agency and those of the Department of State Services.
According to him, Emanuel has been previously arrested by the Nigeria Police when a woman was caught with a baby in Abuja en route Minna.
The spokesperson said that the herbalist told his victim he had made her pregnant and cautioned her not to go to the hospital for any medical treatment or antenatal care.
He said that based on the victim’s narration, when it was time for her ‘delivery’, Emmanuel directed her to Port-Harcourt where a baby was handed over to her.
Emerole disclosed that the woman confessed to having paid the suspected trafficker N650,000 for the baby.
He noted that the suspect, who was arrested at the weekend, was currently under investigation for alleged child trafficking and would be arraigned as soon as the investigation was concluded.
The spokesperson reported the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, as commending the officers for their painstaking surveillance which culminated in the arrest.
“She further warned the public, especially women, to stop patronising such ‘herbalists’, as the sale of babies is a crime punishable by law.
“I am urging couples who wish to adopt a child to go through normal procedure acceptable by law.
“I am reiterating the commitment of the agency to tackle child trafficking in Nigeria.
“I am appealing for more information from the general public about any such act or ‘illegal maternity homes’ in their neighbourhood where these unwholesome activities take place,” she said.