A priest with the Anglican Communion, Reverend Maxwell Ogazi has raised the alarm over the high level of sale of babies in Anambra State by operators of orphanages.
The alarm is coming on the heels of a similar one by the Anambra State police command, after three cases of theft and sale of babies were reported in one week, to the command by parents who lost their children.
Last week, two children of same parents; Chidera and Kamsiyochukwu Iloka disappeared from a school in Amawbia near Awka, while another, Nmachukwu Ebiowu, was stolen at Ogbaru during her school’s graduation party.
Another child was also lured from his school’s graduation party with sweets and biscuits by a man who confessed after he was caught that he was paid N50,000 to bring a child, by a syndicate which indulges in child theft.
Ogazi who operates an orphanage, Christian Compassionate Community Children’s home, Obosi, Idemmili North Local Government Area of Anambra State said that the level of sale of babies in the state had reached an alarming rate.
He said the sales were usually carried out under the guise of adoption by people who posed as childless couples.
Reverend Ogazi who spoke with journalists said, “The current proliferation of illegal orphanages through which modern slavery is perpetuated in the society is high. Babies should not be sold to foster parents but should be given out for adoption free of charge, so long as those taking them can take care of them.”
He said running of Orphanages should be purely on charity grounds and must be registered with the appropriate government ministry for periodic checks.
He lamented that the high rate of sale of children was caused by “the fact that a lot of people were operating their orphanages as business ventures, selling children like goods, even without the knowledge of Child development Department of the State ministry of Women and Children affairs which is in charge of monitoring orphanages.”
Ogazi said he had been running his orphanage for a long time, just as it was duly registered.
He said that in his case, he runs his orphanage as a strictly charity organisation, including having mothers drop them off, before proceeding for work and not a place where people come to buy babies.
He added that running an orphanage was a tasking job, which depended on charity for survival, but that those who indulged in sale of babies were the ones making huge money from it.