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Video of police rescuing pregnant girls and babies from Nigerian ‘baby farm’ is decade old

In World
May 01, 2024

Nigerian police have raided so-called “baby farms” on various occasions in the past. These illegal homes enslave girls and young women who are forced to have children before giving them up for sale on the black market to childless couples. Recent posts have shared a “breaking news” video report about 23 pregnant girls and four babies rescued from one such illicit site in Imo state. However, the claim is misleading; the events happened more than a decade ago. AFP Fact Check found the original video on Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera’s YouTube channel where it was published in 2013.

“BREAKING NEWS: 23 pregnant girls and 4 babies were rescued in a ‘Baby Farm’ in Umuaka Imo state in Nigeria,” reads a post published on X on April 26, 2024.

<span>A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on April 29, 2024</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/XB49unRqDN4PuHOiUg8ldA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTk2Nw–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/c294740e73686e393c6868dd0d9ad7f8″><noscript><img alt=A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on April 29, 2024” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/XB49unRqDN4PuHOiUg8ldA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTk2Nw–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/c294740e73686e393c6868dd0d9ad7f8″ class=”caas-img”>

A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on April 29, 2024

Imo state is in the southeast of Nigeria where a separatist movement led by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been trying to secede for decades. IPOB’s followers are typically critical of the government on social media.

The owner of the X account where the claim was posted describes himself as a “Buharist” — loyal to former leader Muhammadu Buhari — and a supporter of Nigerian President Bola Tinubu.

Viewed more than 50,000 times, the post includes a video report by news channel Al Jazeera showing pregnant girls and women being rescued from a home by Nigerian police officers. It features journalist Yvonne Ndege reporting from the scene.

“Nigeria ‘baby factory’,” reads the headline, adding: “Women forced to sell their children.”

In her report, Ndege speaks to multiple sources, including a victim who was held against her will.

Many comments expressed shock at the news and questioned the motives behind the perpetrators.

“What are they using the babies for if I may ask?” reads one comment. Another asks: “Who are the harvesters.”

The same claim was repeated on Facebook here and here.

But the claim that this video shows a recent police raid is misleading.

Old rescue

AFP Fact Check searched Al Jazeera’s YouTube channel and found the original video published more than a decade ago, on May 16, 2013 (archived here).

“Baby factory uncovered in Nigeria,” reads the description on YouTube.

<span>A screenshot of Al Jazeera report, taken on April 29, 2024</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/nLvgLn5D6x3xicJTzMI8sg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyOA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/95207c744f203572d318fedbe5294722″><noscript><img alt=A screenshot of Al Jazeera report, taken on April 29, 2024” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/nLvgLn5D6x3xicJTzMI8sg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyOA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/95207c744f203572d318fedbe5294722″ class=”caas-img”>

A screenshot of Al Jazeera report, taken on April 29, 2024

According to the report, Nigerian police officers rescued 23 pregnant girls and four babies in Umuaka area located in Imo state.

The footage on social media matches the video report produced by Al Jazeera.

Two men and a woman were arrested in the case.

The incident in Imo, however, was not an isolated one.

Police have previously freed dozens of underage girls from illegal maternity homes where they are forced to have children (see here and here). The babies are then sold on the black market to childless couples (archived here and here).

UNESCO ranks human trafficking as the third largest crime in Nigeria (archived here).

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