The Patriot Institute of Journalism and Arts (PIJA), Lance Magazine is a public-centric independent media organisation dedicated to fighting injustice, fostering social justice and community development through the telling and retelling of the marginalised-oriented stories.
After Soyombo’s Exposé, NAPTIP Takes Custody of Baby Sold By Arrows of God Orphanage
Following a recent exposé of the Nigerian Investigative Journalist, ‘Fisayo Soyombo on how Arrows of God Orphanage is trading babies, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has decided to take possession of Oriade Runsewe, the now six-month-old baby sold under the table by Arrows of God orphanage to undercover journalist Soyombo on July 6, 2023.
For 19 months, Soyombo who is also the founder and Editor-In-Chief of Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), had “studied, trailed, investigated and eventually penetrated the orphanage after receiving a tip-off in December 2021 that one baby at Arrows of God cost N1.5 million.”
In December 2021, he said he received a tip-off that ‘some people’ were selling babies.
However, after spending the following 19 months tracking them, he bought his own baby from them last month — for N2 million, he wrote on his Twitter page.
“In December 2021, I received a tip-off that ‘some people’ were selling babies.
“After spending the following 19 months tracking them, I bought my own baby from them last month — for N2 million.
“Find out who they are on @fijnigeria tomorrow (multimedia story) and on Friday…” he wrote on his Twitter page, a day to the publication of the investigation.
19 months later, the orphanage, founded by Rev. D. C. Ogo, an ordained Minister, a former Principal of the Nigerian Army School of Nursing and Midwifery, a former Chief Matron, and a retired Army Colonel, sold him a baby for N2 million.
FIJ released the story between Wednesday and Friday with a trailer, multimedia story and documentary respectively on each day, leading to calls for the authorities to step in.
Building on previous interactions dating back to July, NAPTIP officials initated contact with FIJ on Thursday to state their readiness to receive the baby. The handover was completed on Friday when two staff of FIJ turned in the baby to the Lagos Zonal Command of NAPTIP headed by Comfort Agboko.
Agboko and two other NAPTIP officers asked a few questions about Oriade before handing her over to a female handler to transport her to a safe house.
The two FIJ staff were then taken to NAPTIP’s investigative wing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport for further questioning.
Fatima Waziri-Azi, Director-General of NAPTIP, subsequently confirmed to FIJ early on Saturday that “the baby is currently in our custody, and is receiving the necessary care at our shelter”.
“The rate of buying and selling of children across the country is indeed alarming and the public must desist from patronizing illegal centres to procure children, as it contravenes section 21 of the TIPPEA Act of 2015(as re-enacted),” Waziri-Azi said.
“Adoption and fostering processes remain the mandate of the federal and state governments. Individuals, NGOs, or orphanages do not have the right to give out children for adoption.”
Images and story credit: FIJ