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Mothers for rent - •Girls now bear children for men for a fee

It may sound incredible, but it is true. Many Nigerian ladies now bear children for men just for a fee. They are all over town, in Lagos and other parts of the country, looking for men to conceive for, not as wives but simply for commercial purposes. And once they are delivered of the babies, they hand same over to their ‘customers’ and move on.

It seems that with the nation’s economy teetering on the precipice and millions of Nigerians experiencing excruciating hardship, as a result of the global financial meltdown, some of the citizens are, characteristically, adopting survival strategies with a touch of ingenious creativity. In this case, women are giving good accounts of themselves in the game of survival.

Investigation revealed that the pregnancy-for-money has become a lucrative business, to the extent that many Nigerian ladies find it attractive. The men they bear children for may not be acquaintances or people they know. The bottom-line is the money involved. Conception could be through artificial insemination or sexual intercourse. To play the role, the ladies charge between N150, 000 and N200, 000. This sum, however, does not include antenatal bills.

While investigating the story, an undercover reporter got six young ladies to have babies for him for a fee. One of them, who claim to be carrying a three-month pregnancy currently, agreed to hand over the baby to him whenever it was delivered.

Agnes, as she identified herself, was not keen to disclose the source of her pregnancy. When asked who was responsible for the pregnancy she wants to sell, she retorted: “How I got pregnant is not the issue. If you want the baby, I will give it to you when I deliver and you pay me. That’s all.”

Indeed, getting the pregnancy-for-fee ladies is like a piece of cake. As soon as the reporter broached the idea to one Miss Joy (surname withheld), a 25-year-old factory worker, she had no objection. To her, it was a familiar path. It seemed that she had done it before and was not averse to doing it again. And it was the Delta State indigene, who later introduced three of her friends or acquaintances who are also in the business.

After gaining Joy’s confidence, the reporter told her that he knew some childless couples who were also interested in such a deal. She thought about the proposal briefly and said she would arrange it if adequately motivated. In her words: “Na your money go waka for you.”

Joy charged a consultancy fee of N5, 000 and got to work. Within 48 hours, she got other ladies who would join her in the deal. She actually told the reporter that she could arrange as many of such ladies as there are clients because, according to her, it was a common practice among girls in Mushin and Ajegunle areas of Lagos, where she resides with her aged parents and siblings. She said she has connection with other ladies outside Lagos, who are also in the network. To show that she meant business, Joy offered her three-year-old love child for sale a few months ago. Her asking price was N300, 000 to give up the baby boy.

One of the commercial mothers, Tonia, said: “If any guy wants me to have a child for him, I will consider it if he can pay me up to N200, 000. He will also pay my medical bills. He will pay the agreed sum in three instalments: He will pay me the first one when I take in; the second will be when the pregnancy is about six months old while the final payment will be after delivery. We can be making love from time to time until full term.”

Another “baby factory”, who gave her name as Sonia, 26, said she could accept N130, 000 but that the man would handle her upkeep until she puts to bed.
Busty and lively, she said she wouldn’t mind living with the man from about the fourth month of the pregnancy so that the man would continue sleeping with her, as couple do. However, unlike Tonia, she would collect half of the agreed sum shortly after she becomes pregnant and the other half when she puts to bed.

On her own part, Becky, who hails from Edo State, said that she would accept to render such service if the man would pay N100, 000, provide her accommodation as well as foot her other bills until she is delivered of the baby. She said the man has to take care of her as his wife during the period of the pregnancy.
Another lady in the business, who simply identified herself as Patience, an indigene of Cross River State, said: “When we agree and the man gives me belle, I go tell my senior sister that I want to travel. Then the man will give me where to stay until I born am.”

She said her pay-off was a lump sum of N150, 000, which she intends to use to start a business.
While all the ladies said they were ready to go for tests before the consummation of the deals, they pledged not to relinquish the custody rights over the babies they are rented to bear once money exchanged hands.

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