Rivers State police said they discovered an illegal orphanage suspected of being used as a child trafficking facility (baby factory) in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The orphanage known as the “Tender Life Foundation Initiative”, located in the state’s Oyibo area, was invaded by commanders on Tuesday.
All occupants, including babies and pregnant women, were rescued.
Parading the occupants rescued before journalists, police command spokesman Nnamdi Omoni, deputy superintendent (DSP), said 25 expectant children and four teenagers were rescued during the operation, adding that the operator was also arrested.
Omoni said: “Today, I am happy to report that Eagle Crack agents in a secret operation yesterday (Tuesday) arrested a child trafficking union at Work in Port Harcourt, where 25 babies between 1 and 2 years old and four teenagers pregnant women have been recovered.
“Pregnant and fragile babies and adolescents, frail and malnourished, are receiving medical attention at the police clinic while investigations are still ongoing.”
Speaking through her lawyer, Eunice Onyema Uchendu, the operator of the facility, said the outfit was genuine and that she does not operate a baby factory, but a properly registered non-governmental organization.
She also said that the NGO works in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation of Rivers State.
An employee of the Tender Life Foundation Initiative, Onuche Richard, who was also arrested, also said the organization is genuine.
He said: “I was hired as a program manager by the foundation. During my interview, the Executive Director (ED) here (pointing to the operator) told me that there are two projects in progress and that these two projects are being carried out in this building, one on the upper floor and the other one on the ground floor.
“She said that my office, where I will work as a program manager, is on the ground floor and that under no circumstances should I go up. Since November 18, 2019, I haven’t climbed the stairs, ”he said.