Confusion as six mothers fight over custody of a Rescued child

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At least six women are claiming to be the mother of a five-year-old boy, rescued by operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team (IRT) from the hands of baby snatchers.

The matter has become so controversial that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has stepped into the matter. One of the interested mothers, doubting the authenticity of a DNA result presented by police investigating the matter, ran to the #EndSARS panel sitting in Abuja, crying foul. The panel is made of members of the NHRC.

The DNA carried out by police to find out the true mother of the boy among the six ‘mothers,’ allegedly proved that a woman, who came to Abuja all the way from Enugu State, was the true relative of the boy.

Investigators believe that the ‘mother,’ who ran to the #EndSARS panel crying, was making the case to drag.

At the last sitting of the panel held on October 18, 2021, it was ordered that an independent DNA test be conducted with respect to the petition of the woman.

The #EndSARS panel stated that in view of the petition, the Investigation Police Officer (IPO) was ordered to make available the child on a date to be communicated in due course. According to the panel, this was to enable it to proceed timely to the diagnostic Centre for the collection of samples for the DNA examination.

A police source, which had been following the matter said: “In 2019, one Thomas in Abuja wrote a petition that a husband and wife moved into one of the apartments in the compound he lives in. A week later, the woman said that she wanted to buy something outside and opted to take Thomas’s daughter along. Thomas allowed her and she disappeared with the child. When Thomas wrote to the police, we visited the place and unraveled a phone number which belonged to the suspects. We were able to arrest the fleeing ‘husband and wife’ in Asaba, Delta State. We discovered that the couple had sold the child and had also rented another apartment at Asaba.”

The couple was arrested and when it was time for the identification parade, Thomas identified them as his former neighbours who ran away with his daughter.

However, before the police tracked and arrested the couple, they had sold the child. Investigators followed the trail until the child was located and retrieved from the buyer at Aba in Abia State.”

The police source further said: “From all indications, we felt it was not just Thomas’s daughter that the couple must have stolen. We acted on a hunch and probed them further. We began further investigations and true to our suspicion, we were able to track and rescue five other children; a boy and five girls. The children, couple and buyer were paraded before journalists in 2019 by the Force spokesman, a Commissioner of Police, Mr. Frank Mba. Luckily, the parents of some of the children came for them.

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Three were released because there was no controversy. After the three were taken, three others were left; a boy and two girls. Later a woman, who is based in Abuja, came for the boy. She said the child was snatched from her along the road by a couple in the Wuse area of Abuja.”

The police source explained that as they were about to hand the boy over to the woman, another ‘mother’ appeared, swearing everything she held dear that the child was hers.

“She said that the boy was stolen from her sister at Emene in Enugu State. She also mentioned that the boy was five years old,” said the police.

The police mentioned that what made the situation a trying one was that the boy couldn’t recognize any of the ‘mothers.’

Meanwhile, the couple that stole him had told the police that the boy was stolen at Enugu State.

The police continued: “Since there was a controversy, we decided to take the next step in order to find out the real mother of the boy. We went for DNA. However, there was another surprise; the following day; another woman from Okigwe in Imo State, appeared, saying that she had a strong conviction that the boy was her son. While we were still addressing the matter, another couple came from Lagos State, insisting that the boy was theirs. Another woman also came from Port Harcourt and another from Enugu.

At least six families were claiming paternity to the child. We conducted DNA testing on the first three women in a hospital at Asokoro. While we were waiting for the result, one of the women went to the #EndSARS panel in Abuja, to complain that the police had snatched her son. She told the panel that when she saw her son on television, she came to claim that we refused to hand him over.

She claimed that the boy identified her and even greeted her properly. Luckily, the DNA result came out, and it showed that the woman from Emene in Enugu State is the mother. She had more than a 90 per cent relationship with the boy. But the Abuja woman continued to insist, thus the panel went ahead with investigation and the doctor was invited and testified. The panel said it will do the test for only her. All the women had a striking resemblance to the boy.”

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