[QODLink]
Africa

Niger politician flees baby-trafficking probe

National Assembly president crosses into Burkina Faso after being stripped of immunity over alleged role in network.

Last updated: 28 Aug 2014 00:08
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Supporters say the investigation into Hama Amadou, centre, was politically motivated [AFP]

The president of Niger's National Assembly has fled the country after his immunity was lifted in a baby trafficking scandal that has shaken the country's political class.

Hama Amadou fled for neighboring Burkina Faso on Wednesday, according to a statement on state television, just hours after the parliament said he could be investigated.

His wife Abdou Labo, who is also the country's agriculture minister, and 16 other people have already been arrested over suspected links to a network trafficking babies from neighbouring Nigeria via Benin.

It is with a heavy heart ... but we consider that it's our duty.

Daouda Mallam Marthe, a vice-president of the National Assembly

Amadou, who was tipped as the leading challenger to the current president, Mahamadou Issoufou, in elections in 2016, has denounced the probe as politically motivated.

Tidjani Abdoulkadri, of the Democratic and Social Convention party, said the investigation was breach of parliamentary rules, which do not allow for parliament to order the arrest of a deputy.

Politicians earlier justified their reasons for supporting the lifting of Amadou's immunity to prosecution.

"We think that for the honour and respectability of our institution, he must make himself available to the judicial authorities," said Mohamed Ben Omar, a member of parliament's political bureau, which authorised the investigation.

"We must not risk breaking the equality of citizens before the law. In the same case, Nigeriens are languishing in prison for months."  

"It is with a heavy heart that we have taken this difficult decision, but we consider that it's our duty," added Daouda Mallam Marthe, a vice-president of the National Assembly with the ruling Niger Party for Democracy and Progress.

The alleged crime involves forging and altering birth certificates to switch the names of mothers.

Networks which allow young girls to sell their newborns to couples who are unable to conceive are regularly found in Nigeria.

The babies are sold for several thousands of dollars, with most of the money going to middlemen.

339

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Families of Britons killed in 2013 siege at gas plant in Algeria frustrated by inquiry delay over 'sensitive' materials.
Rhinoceros beetles once drew 40,000 visitors each year to Tamura city, but nuclear disaster has decimated beetle mania.
In run-up to US midterm elections, backers of immigration law changes disappointed by postponement of executive action.
As China reneges on pledged free elections, Tiananmen-style democracy movement spreads out across Hong Kong.
Acquitted of murdering his girlfriend, S African double amputee athlete still has a long and bumpy legal road ahead.
join our mailing list