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Edo Couple Arrested for Selling 1-Month-old Baby To Buy Hard Drugs

In a disturbing case highlighting the dire consequences of drug addiction, the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking has successfully apprehended a 48-year-old man identified as Anthony Igbinogun and his girlfriend, Joy Umukoro, aged 28. The couple stands accused of selling their own one-month-old baby in order to sustain their destructive drug habits.Further investigations led to the arrest of Precious James, a 26-year-old friend of the suspects, who allegedly facilitated the illicit transaction and established contact with the buyer in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.Addressing the media in Benin City, Abigail Ihonre, the Head of the Investigation Unit of the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking, shed light on the distressing details of the case. She revealed that the infant had been sold for the sum of N1.7 million. The ongoing investigation aims to locate and rescue the baby, as well as apprehend the buyer who acquired the one-month-old child.Ihonre disclosed, “Based on our findings, Joy Umukoro, the biological mother of the baby, gave birth to the child in April 2023 and conspired with her boyfriend to sell their own flesh and blood for a sum of N1.7 million. She has admitted her involvement in this heinous act of selling her own child.”She continued, “As we delve further into the case, our concerted efforts are focused on locating the buyers and securing the safe return of the baby. We anticipate bringing the matter to court by Monday, June 26th, 2023, to ensure that all parties responsible for these criminal activities face the full force of the law.””The suspects claimed that they resorted to this abhorrent act due to their inability to care for the baby. These individuals are allegedly plagued by drug addiction, and when it became evident that they could not provide for the child, they made the drastic decision to sell their own offspring. Regrettably, this course of action will not only ruin their lives but also potentially subject them to imprisonment,” Ihonre warned.Trafficking infants carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison. In light of this, Ihonre implored those who find themselves unable to care for their children to seek alternative solutions. She urged, “Rather than resorting to selling their children, I implore individuals in such situations to bring the infants to the office of the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking, where we collaborate closely with the Ministry of Gender and Women Affairs. Alternatively, they can approach other agencies dedicated to the welfare of children. Selling these innocent lives is an unforgivable choice that could ultimately lead to incarceration.”Joy Umukoro, the mother of the baby, admitted to selling the one-month-old child to a willing buyer in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for the sum of N700,000. She revealed that N500,000 was received in cash, N170,000 was paid to the intermediary who facilitated the transaction, while the remaining funds were used to support their drug habits.Umukoro shared her account, stating, “After giving birth to the baby, life became extremely difficult, and I approached my friend for assistance in finding a buyer. She provided me with a contact in Port Harcourt, and I traveled there with another woman to sell the baby for seven hundred thousand naira. I used a portion of the money to purchase drugs and also sent some funds to support my other two children and contribute towards my father’s burial expenses.”Offering his perspective, Anthony Igbinogun, the baby’s father, claimed, “We lived together, and after the mother expressed her inability to care for the child, she informed me that her friend, Precious James, had found a buyer. Subsequently, she traveled to Rivers State to finalize the sale, returning to give me N100,000.”Precious James, the alleged facilitator of the illegal transaction, acknowledged their collective drug addiction and asserted their inability to provide for the child, stating, “My friend informed me that she sold the baby for seven hundred thousand naira. Upon her return, she used a portion of the proceeds to purchase drugs for me.”


Ademola Adeyemi

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