Police in the Nigerian commercial capital Lagos arrested a group of new-born babies ‘sellers’ on Friday, Punch newspaper reported on Monday on its online edition.
The alleged gangsters, led by a woman, were caught in possession of a female new-born baby that they were preparing to sell. The baby has since been united with her mother, the newspaper said.
“We recovered a female newborn baby from the suspects who are now in custody, including their female leader Chinenye,” a police spokeswoman said, adding that the suspects mentioned a religious leader as their boss.
Baby trafficking in rife in Nigeria, a country listed every year by Transparency International as one of the continent’s most corrupt. The price of a new born baby varies between US$3 000 and US$4 000, a source told Sifa News by telephone from the capital Abuja.
The same police operation also caught another victim, a 45-year-old estate agent who was defrauding people with fake Lagos State Government letterheads.
Nigeria is Africa’s second-largest economy and oil producer, but 61% of Nigerians – about 100 million out of a population of 180 million – live in extreme poverty, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
State corruption, social inequality and high levels of unemployment have infected the Nigerian society to the bones, forcing many people to resort to various scams, including kidnapping and 419 scam, to make a living and put food on the table for their families.
Photo: Shannon Leigh Studios Photography