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Cablegate: Nigeria: South-East States Target Clinics Involved

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

061538Z Sep 05

UNCLAS LAGOS 001390

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR CA/VO/F/P; STATE FOR CA/OCS/CI; STATE FOR CA/FPP;
STATE FOR CA/VO/P/I; STATE FOR CA/VO/KCC; STATE FOR
CA/VO/NVC; INL/G/TIP FOR SALLY NEUMANN; AF/RSA FOR ROBERT
ZUEHLKE; ACCRA FOR DHS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS PHUM PREL KCRM KWMN SMIG NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: SOUTH-EAST STATES TARGET CLINICS INVOLVED
IN TRAFFICKING


1. (SBU) Summary. In response to information passed by
Post's fraud prevention unit (FPU), police authorities in
four of the five South-East zone states have raided clinics
involved in trafficking infants. Clinic staff were paying
less than 200 dollars to young, indigent pregnant women in
exchange for their babies. The clinics would give the babies
to bogus adoption agencies that would charge adoptive parents
a hefty fee. The director of one of the more active
facilitating agencies in Abia State is under indictment as is
a state judge. Abia State is having problems rehabilitating
the many women and infants found at these clinics. The
state's First Lady has taken up the cause and has made
statements on the issue to local media. End Summary.

2. (SBU) At an August 25 meeting in Enugu State, Police
Commissioners from Enugu, Abia, Anambra, and Imo States told
Post Fraud Prevention Manager (FPM) that, in response to
information supplied by Post, they had begun cracking down on
adoption fraud outlets in their jurisdictions. They all
claimed to have discovered clinics where pregnant women,
usually young and poor, were admitted and given a per diem of
several hundred Naira (equivalent of between $4 and $6) until
the baby's birth. Once the babies were born, the clinic
would give the mothers between N10,000 to N15,000 ($75 to
$110) for the child. The babies were then sent to a
complicit adoption agency that portrayed the infants as
foundlings to potential adoptive parents. Fees for the
adoption of these children ranged from N200,000 to N500,000,
or between $1,500 and $3,600. Boys fetch higher prices than
girls.

3. (SBU) In Abia State, the situation is particularly
acute. An adoption agency there, the Suzzy Foundation, had
long been under suspicion by Post's immigration visa unit.
Abia State police raided the agency and arrested its
director. Police also confirmed they had arrested a state
judge and were investigating a social welfare officer and a
local magistrate. As a result of the raids in Abia, police
have taken many pregnant women and newborns into custody, but
lack the resources to shelter them. The police have appealed
to the state's First Lady. She has addressed the media on
the issue, and promised to make the apprehension of
perpetrators and care for victims top priorities. She is
pushing for continued investigation of doctors and lawyers
involved in the adoption business.

4. (SBU) The police cited imposter adoptive parents as a
problem. By Nigerian law, adoptive parents visit a child and
take the child into custody personally for an extended, trial
home stay. In the case of adoptions by American citizens,
adoption agencies and state authorities often are not sure
whether the parents who come to pick up a child are the
American citizens requesting the adoption. They have
recorded many cases where it turns out that friends or
relatives of the American citizens were actually the ones who
took the child into custody. While such imposter schemes may
simply be designed to save Nigerian American adoptive parents
plane fare, police see them as exploitable by traffickers as
well and are therefore interested in stopping them. Post FPM
asked that authorities fax any identification supplied by
potential adoptive parents so that Post could confirm their
American citizenship and confirm that photographs from our
passport records match the individuals present.

5. (SBU) Comment. Investigations by local police often
lead to the discovering of large numbers of trafficking
victims. This meeting with police authorities from the
South-East States was important on two counts. One, it
demonstrated the police chiefs were enthused to tackle
illegal trafficking in their backyards and to make their
states a less attractive transport depot. Second, their
action could spur those nearby states with greater
trafficking problems to better action. In June, Cross River
state police picked up a bus carrying 40 children to Cameroon
for forced labor. Press coverage and heightened awareness in
the South East can therefore help reduce trafficking by
shutting down a major transit area. Post FPM and TIP officer
will travel to the South East for meetings with police
officials in November to determine ways to help Abia State
and its First Lady with their outreach campaign and expand it
to other states. Police in Abia State, along with a
journalist from the Nigerian Television Network (NTN),
compiled a very graphic video that recently aired and may
turn even more attention to this problem. End Comment.
BROWNE

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