Same story different offenders.
The story of Ayangbiles is one of the dozens that I have read this year. The couple got married in 2009, had fertility issues, pay some guy to get them a baby. Tale such as this is common that it has become another ‘negative’ story that people automatically tuned out of.
Ayangbiles, in their quest to seek for help with their fertility problems met a traditional doctor in 2013 who then became the family’s Fertility Specialist Consultant and friend.
Idiat Babatunde, a Polytechnic student had a baby she was unable to care for, when she had to return to school, she gave days old baby to Mr Onalaja, the traditional doctor to look after the newborn on her behalf.
The father of the child and the mother were not on speaking term.
Mr Onalaja contacted his friends, the desperate couple – money exchanged hands, Ayangbile’s became ‘proud parents’ of days old baby boy.
Going rate for newborn in Nigeria is around 300k naira.
Ayangbiles’ joy was short-lived when their landlord who knew the couple had no child saw them with a new baby. The landlord alerted the police to investigate the case.
Ayangbiles and the traditional doctor were arrested by the police for interrogation.
Baby boy returned to the mother – likely to sell him out when the dust settles.
Story such as this is very common in Nigeria, almost every week someone is caught stealing a baby from neighbours, hospitals etc for the purpose of selling on to childless couples.
Other times it is baby factory whereby pregnant teenagers are housed and cajoled to let go of their newborn babies in exchange for cash. Sarah’s story in the video was 2 years ago, since then many more have been uncovered.
Like many social issues in Nigeria, adoption, surrogacy is frowned upon, because of this, couple with fertility issues would rather go through extreme measures to get a child than to speak openly about it and seek for help in a dignified way.
While we have good Samaritans such as Ayangbiles’ landlord who feel compelled to speak out for the sake of the poor child, I don’t see any end to the problem of baby factories in Nigeria.
Each time cases such as this is ousted, either on an individual level such as Ayangbiles or corporate level such as baby factory: we hear about arrests but no follow-up updates to inform citizens.
How is a crime such as this ever going to be reduced when we failed to address the cause of why children are treated like merchandise?