Nigerian police said on Thursday they had broken a major baby trafficking ring, arresting a doctor believed to have bought infants from pregnant women and sold them at a profit for more than 20 years.
Police in the southeastern city of Enugu arrested Kenneth Akunne along with 20 pregnant women aged 18-20 during a raid last week on his Uzuoma Clinic. "The doctor is notorious and has been in the trade of selling babies for over 20 years now," Desmond Agwu, Enugu state commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, told Reuters.
The arrests were made after officers stopped a taxi during a routine search and found a woman with a day-old baby she said she had bought for 340,000 naira ($2,885) from Akunne's clinic.
Uzuoma Clinic is one of scores of illegal "baby farms" in southeastern Nigeria, where infants are sold to people desperate for children and ready to pay to avoid the red-tape of the country's adoption laws.
Despite being the world's eighth-biggest exporter of crude, most people in Nigeria live on less than $2 a day. Apart from the illicit trade in babies, Nigeria also faces the problem of domestic and international trafficking in women and children.
Many in Africa's most populous country see childlessness as a curse, boosting demand for the illicit baby trade.
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