The gang’s kingpin is a 52 year-old woman, Chief Lilian Nma Achumba, who runs a charity home in Aba, Abia state.
A Police investigating team was stunned when it found 35 pregnant girls and six children and a day old baby at the Nma Charity and Rehabilitation Centre,Umunkpeyi, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government in Abia.
The team was led there by two of the suspects, initially arrested at the Idi-Iroko border in Ogun state on 20 July. They were caught with two newly-born babies, meant for smuggling for sale in Benin Republic.
Upon interrogation, the two suspects, 44 year old Emmanuel Chigozie Elesuwa and 33 year-old Chioma David, a woman confessed they bought the babies at N350,000 each at Nma Charity home and they were taking them to Benin to sell at N700,000 each.
According to Adeniran, investigation into the case by the Anti-Human Trafficking and Women/Children Protection Unit of the Force revealed that the suspects arrested are notorious criminals that deal in buying and selling of babies and children within and outside Nigeria.
“Consequently, the suspects, Emmanuel Chigozie Elesuwa and Chioma David, admitted and confessed to the Police investigation team that they are members of a criminal gang that specialize in buying and selling of new born babies and children within and outside Nigeria and have been in operation for over ten years.
“During interrogation and further investigation into the roles played by Chief Lilian Nma Achumba , the owner of Nma Charity Home in Aba, Abia State indicted in the confession of the two suspects, it was discovered that the purpose of establishing the Orphanage Home is to harvest babies for sale and she also operate other branches of the orphanage home in Port-harcourt and some other parts of the Country”.
The police spokesman said 28 of the 36 pregnant girls or women and three children found at the Nma charity home, have been handed over to the Ministry of Strategy and Social Development, Umuahia, Abia State and all have since been re-united with their families after receiving medical attention.
“The Principal suspect Chief Lilian Nma Achumba has admitted and confessed to her criminal roles in the case”, Adeniran said.
Achumba also revealed she has other branches of the orphanage in Port-harcourt and some other parts of the country.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris on assumption of Office on the 22nd June, 2016 expanded the Anti-Human Trafficking and Women/Children Protection Unit of the Force under the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID).
The Anti-Human Trafficking and Women/Children Protection Unit of the Force in compliance with the directives and their expanded mandate have been working in synergy with relevant agencies of Government in the fight against the trafficking of persons and abuse of rights and privileges of women and children.
Police said investigation is being intensified to uncover other illegal orphanage branches being operated by Achumba , to rescue victims and arrest other members of the syndicate still at large.