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Igboland’s booming baby business
The Igbos are mostly found in south-eastern Nigeria. A great people with great culture and custom the republican lifestyle of the Igbos leaves them as a strong people who value personal liberty and choices. Sometimes described by critics as generally difficult to rule or control based on this principle of rooted republicanism, the Igbos are fiercely independent and economically indomitable. Naturally imbued with deep convictions and conquering enterprising spirit, the Igbos are very proud of their heritage dating back centuries.
Igbos go to great length to maintain family ties in the unique spirit of brotherhood — uncompromisingly attached to family values held sacrosanct for ages! This commentator is a member of this great community east of the Niger and he is indeed proud! Whilst that fact is established, it does not in any stretch of imagination prevent one from speaking the truth even if that truth is against the interest of my people.
Last March, I was navigating the internet one early morning, and I stumbled upon a news item. It was about the booming 'business' in Igboland of baby selling and buying! Security agents reportedly 'invaded' a so-called orphanage home in Anambra State where they made some arrests and freed some female 'hostages' -- some heavy with pregnancy!
Recently also, similar news item came up. The news was still about a raid carried out by soldiers in an orphanage in Aba, Abia State. The soldiers reportedly arrested six girls (some pregnant!) for alleged child trafficking while six babies were recovered from 'captivity'! According to the report, the owner of the home escaped arrest and was still at large!
The truth in this situation must be told, no matter whose ox is gored. The problem of child trafficking is not limited to Igboland. However, the difference here happens to be the propensity with which some Igbo men and women are desperate to 'buy' babies or use same for money rituals! While some couples are in need of babies to solidify their marital relationships, others desire new-born babies for the purposes of making satanic money!
In Igboland when you are married and bearing a child poses a problem, then one is in trouble! All sort of stories would be doing the rounds about the man’s impotency or the wife's past wayward lifestyle. The pressure from the village and elsewhere would force you to seek out a solution: visiting spiritual homes and pastors or going all the way to buying a baby, which would then be presented to everybody as yours! In this case of baby buying and selling a syndicate is involved; a network of baby-supplying chain linking the entire south-eastern states.
While the high cost of marriage in Igboland discourages eligible men from marrying and settling down, the unwritten rule that forbids a girl from having any child before marriage forces girls to either go for abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy or contemplate even selling off the baby once it is delivered is another problem. The situation is that serious and something must be done by elders in the villages to reduce the prohibitive cost of marrying our girls in the village or towns in Igboland.
The quest for easy riches does a lot of damage to the values hitherto held sacrosanct in Igboland! Or how else does one explain a situation where no one asks any question about how anybody suddenly becomes rich.
The truth is that in Igboland, some people see survival economically as the only thing 'holy' enough to sacrifice whatever it takes for, even if it involves selling a human head!
One must state here clearly that he respects deeply the sanctity of human life and whoever takes what (s)he cannot give ought to be destined for the Hades!
In this wise, therefore, whoever is impotent should declare his impotency and seek divine or medical assistance. (We have seen cases of men whose manhood was 'dry' receiving miraculous healing). And whoever is barren should make open her case of barrenness. Solution could be found through medical or divine intervention.
According to the French philosopher, Roger Fournier, "The miracle of love is not to love a man or a woman; it is to love yourself well enough to be capable of really loving someone else". When we love ourselves and our neighbours, respecting the sanctity of human life we may not consider 'stealing' or 'buying' babies to satisfy our clearly dysfunctional marital responsibility.
The booming baby 'business' in Igboland in particular and Nigeria in general must stop. For it is a big shame, an indecent and diabolical act that is calling the attention of Heaven! Let righteousness prevail, please!