A couple identified as Chidi Martins and Maureen Martins, who run a baby factory, that camouflages as a church in Port-Harcourt, has been arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
Daily Times reported that the church known as Great Mercy Deliverance Ministry, located at No. 3, Giwa Street in Rumuolumili, Port Harcourt, engaged in outreaches in ghetto areas in Rivers, Abia, Imo, and Akwa-Ibom states.
It was alleged that the couple, and their accomplice, IB, who is now on the run, during such outreach, scout for teenage girls put in the family way, with a promise to provide them with accommodation, feeding and maternity care during that phase of their lives.
When the girls indicate interest, it was learnt that the couple move them to the church compound and after they give birth, they are drugged, and their babies are sold to waiting buyers.
Preliminary investigations revealed that a baby boy is sold for N1.5 million, while a baby girl is sold for N1.1 million.
A police source also said that when the girls regain consciousness, the said pastors, would tell them that they lost their babies at birth, give them N30, 000 to return to their base.
it was learnt that the couple had been in the business for over six years, as they have sold over 20 babies.
The couple ran out of luck and got arrested, after the family of a pregnant teenage girl, Patience Okon, lured from Uran in Akwa-Ibom state, alerted IRT , headed by Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), over her sudden disappearance from home.
The girl was allegedly trailed to the church, where three new born babies, their mothers and three pregnant teenagers were rescued.
A couple, from Efuru area of Delta State, who had also paid the sum of N3.5million to buy a a baby boy and a girl, were also arrested at the scene.
According to a police source, who chose to remain anonymous, said the police team was also hunting for IB.
He said: “We are investigating a case of child trafficking from our base in Akwa Ibom State. We discovered that a teenager, Patience Edet Okon, who is five months pregnant, had been moved to a home in Port-Harcourt, we trailed her to a church owned by one Maureen Matins and her husband, Chidi Matins.
“At the church, we found three pregnant teenagers, Emmanuel Lovett, who is five months pregnant. She is from Ngor-okpala area of Imo State.
“We also found Emmanuel Chisom, from Ohaji Egbema, Imo State, she is 18-year-old and she is presently seven months pregnant. Ifeanyi Chioma, who is from Ukwa-East area of Abia State was also rescued.
We found Okon with a day-old baby boy, and we found two other teenagers, Friday Favour, 18, with a two-day old baby girl, and Chizaram Chukwudi, from Ibekwu area of Abia State, with a two-day old baby boy.
“In the course of our investigations, we discovered that the pregnant teenagers were usually induced into delivery at eight months due to demand from people who want to buy the babies. They also have a woman known as IB who is on the run now, she is the person who goes out to scout for these girls.
“Maureen told us that she met IB in 2019 and she has lost count of the number of babies she has delivered and sold for IB. We also arrested a couple who came to buy a baby boy and girl from Maureen and they paid the sum of N3.5million.
The babies were given birth to by two different women, Patience Okon and Patience Friday. But the couple came to buy them as a set of twins. They were arrested on the day they came to carry the babies.
“In the church where the woman operates her business, they have over seven rooms where they keep the girls. Maureen gets them drugged after their delivery and when they wake, she will tell them that their babies had died.
Since they were asleep, they won’t know when the buyers will come and pick up the children. They usually sell these babies with their placentas 24 hours after their deliveries.
“Maureen and her husband would then give the girls a paltry sum of N30,000, to go back to wherever they came from and these girls will leave the church believing that their babies are dead.
We discovered that Maureen have been operating this baby factory for over six years and people came from all over the country to buy babies from her.
“She usually sells baby boys for N1.5million, while baby girls are sold for N1.1million. Maureen is the General Overseer of her church, while her husband is an associate pastor.
We are currently working on tracing over 20 children which they have sold. We also learned that when a child is born Maureen will ask the mother not to breast feed the child so that they don’t get used to breast milk and it enable their new mothers feed them with baby milk. ”
Making confessional statement, Maureen, 45, who hails from Isiamba North area of Imo state, said that IB owned the business and sourced for the girls.
Maureen, also a midwife, said: “I am married with two children and I am also a nurse. It was a woman, known as IB that introduced the business to me, she is also the one that brings the girls and sell the babies.
I don’t know where get them from but mine is to look over them and when they are due for delivery, I take the delivery.
“IB take the babies when they are delivered to those who have paid, and I will tell the girls that their babies are dead and give them money to return back home. It is IB that knows more about this.”
On his part, Henry said he and his wife were deceived by Maureen and her colleague known as IB. He said his wife has been barren for six years after their marriage and a woman his wife met in a bus linked her to IB and they ended up with Maureen before they were arrested.
He added that he had no plan of buying a child but his wife was made to believe that she was pregnant by the duo for nine months.
Narrating his story, he said: “I have been married since 2014 and I have no child and my wife met one IB through one woman that was giving drugs to my wife.
They started giving her drugs that made her look like she was pregnant and her stomach became big and her legs were swelling. We went for antenatal at the General hospital and they told my wife that her babies were doing fine.
“IB told my wife to call her when she thinks she is due for delivery. We called IB and told her that my wife’s stomach is very big and strong and she told us to come to Port Harcourt and she took us to Maureen who identified herself as a midwife she gave my wife a concoction and then she started feeling dizzy, then they took my wife into a room and they asked me to start praying for my wife that she should deliver safely.
“I was also asked to go out and then I started hearing my wife shouting then they called me and told me that my wife had delivered a set of twins. I saw the children with the placentas intact.
But my wife told me that these are not her children and that we have to do DNA on the children. Since we saw the children with placentas, we decided to take them home and they also cut of my wife’s private part and insert their hands into it and when I came in, I saw blood everywhere.
“So, people around there told us to rejoice that my wife had delivered a set of twins but I have this strong feeling that the children were not mine and the children were always crying.
Few days later, the police came and arrested us and they told us that the child didn’t belong to us. They showed us the real owners of the children which I paid N3.5milllion to get.”
One of the victims Friday Favor, narrated how she found herself in the baby factory from Abia state.
She said: “I am 18-year-old and I left secondary in 2019. My boy friend got me pregnant in Abia state and he wasn’t taking good care of me.
There was this woman known as Precious approached me and said she wanted help to me and she bought me to Porthacourt, where I stayed for one month and I delivered my child. My pregnancy was not due for delivery and they gave me an injection then I delivered the baby.
“They took us away to the house of Maureen, where I was locked up in a room with some other girls for hours. I slept off when I woke up, they told me that my baby is dead. They don’t use to feed us, I heard that they sold my baby and one other child for N2.5million.”
On her part, Emmanuel Lovett said that she was rejected my her parent and her boyfriend’s relatives after she got pregnant.
She said that a woman who she didn’t know offered to help and brought her to the church where she will be taken care of.
“I am from Imo state and when I got pregnant my mother rejected me and my boy friend took me to his relatives and they rejected me too. A friend told me about a woman, who will take care of me during the pregnancy and when I deliver my boyfriend will come and pay and take me away.
“I was taken to the woman and I didn’t suspect her and I was so relaxed with her. They use lock us inside the house for 10 hours on most days and I didn’t suspect any wrong was going on.”