The illicit but increasingly popular operations of ‘baby factories’ in Nigeria come with worrisome portents. Beyond the occasional mentions when few culprits hit news headlines, their role in the definition of demographics in Nigeria is often overlooked. Yet these remain a serious social problem, especially in some parts of Nigeria. Baby factories are not a happenstance.
Their existence has some primary motivation. They are now an established set of business ventures and run more like demand-driven enterprises, albeit illegal. The supply side of such enterprises only responds to a groundswell of a secure network of participants in a value chain that involves discreet and secret layers of activities.
The primary motivation is pecuniary, a driver of all other activities within the business. Prosaically or graphically, movement of activities can be represented in a flow chart. First, huge money is involved, and there is a systematic movement of the money. Secondly, there are rich, well connected and highly influential potential buyers of babies.
The business cannot be as attractive and lucrative without buyers with deep pockets who desperately need babies. Then, there is a very poor documentation system of recording births and deaths, which favours this nefarious set of activities. What many babies that are objects of transactions are used for are not all transparent and clear. It can be safely assumed that, in addition to illegal adoption of some babies, others could be raw materials for rituals, especially as the cases of criminals caught with fresh human parts are on the increase.
Activities are shrouded in secrecy, involving a ring of participants. The business involves the services of go-betweens who serve as agents with the major task of covering the tracks. The main operations involve the use of “special purpose vehicles” (not restricted to official frauds as the one currently trending in the social media, but it is a term commonly used in project management financing).
These SPVs are the bearers of the items of trade — the babies. The baby makers have to be inexperienced, daft, uncommitted to any marital relationship and poor enough to be vulnerable to the antics of the “criminal investor” or “crimepreneurs” in this case. The resort to certain remote controls, using some diabolical and fetish means, cannot be ruled out, even when there is no evidence to confirm.