Nigeria’s Ogun Police Command has launched an investigation into the sale of an 18-month-old baby girl by her mother to repay a loan taken from a microfinance company.
The woman, identified as Olaide Adekunle, was arrested following a complaint by her husband, Nureni Rasaq, who reported the disappearance of their daughter, Moridiat. According to reports, Adekunle left home with the child to travel to Lagos on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, but returned without her.
Upon receiving the complaint, the police arrested Adekunle and during interrogation, she confessed to having sold the baby to an unidentified person in Lagos for ₦600,000.
The suspect claimed that she borrowed money from a microfinance bank, and when she was unable to repay the loan, the bank’s agents began to harass and threaten her. In her desperation, Adekunle ran to Lagos and started selling sachet water. It was during her hawking that she met a man who introduced her to the woman who eventually bought the child.
The police have since handed the case over to the Ogun State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation. The acting Commissioner of Police, DCP Babakura Muhammed, has directed the SCID to take over the investigation.
The sale of a child is illegal in Nigeria, and the act is punishable under the law. The case has raised concerns over the increasing cases of loan defaulters being harassed by microfinance banks in Nigeria.
The incident also highlights the need for better regulation of the microfinance industry in the country to prevent loan defaulters from resorting to desperate measures to repay their debts.