Lady, 24 nabbed for child theft in Calabar

Luck ran out, yesterday, on an alleged syndicate that specializes in buying children in the Calabar metropolis as one of their members a 24 -year old lady known as Nkechi was apprehended by neighbours of the “supposed “victim before she was arrested by the police.

Saturday Vanguard learned that the incident,which took place at 15 Ene Ndem Street in Calabar South started at about 8p.m when a group comprising of two male and a female approached the mother of the two months old baby, Mrs. Nyong Ayi Ita, demanding to buy her baby (Stella Essien Ita).

Mrs. Ita told Saturday Vanguard that she was approached by a group of three people who told her that their madam wanted to buy her baby but suspecting that they had ulterior motive because a baby was also missing in the area since April and has not been found till date, she decided to play along.

She said: “When the people came to me to discuss” business” asking to buy my last child (Stella), I demanded that I would not do anything with them unless they brought their principal, which they did after some hours of negotiation. They told me that they wanted to buy my baby for N150,000 but I refused and told them to bring their “boss” because a woman in the neighbourhood too lost her baby like that. So I decided to play along to get these people.”

She disclosed that eventually their boss came to her house at about 10p.m to conclude the business. “When she came in to the house to see my baby I asked her what she wanted the baby for. She told me that their parents gave birth to three girls and one of them died that she wanted to “buy” a boy to enable them maintain their father’s lineage and that was her reason. But unknown to her the baby is a girl. she didn’t discover this because Stella’s ears have not been pierced and she was covered with napkin so she taught it was a boy, “ Nyong said.

However, Nyong alerted neighbours, who delved into the matter. The 35 year old mother of nine revealed that it was during the questioning that the boys in the area got angry and started beating the others (the three people who came earlier) and they escaped but the suspect was apprehended because she was inside the house without knowing what was happening outside.

Nyong’s husband, Etubom Ayi Ita, called the police who arrested and took Nkechi to the station.

Mrs. Nyong revealed to Saturday Vanguard that Nkechi the suspect told her that she stays at Atamu street, a suburb in Calabar south and she also admitted that she was the one who sent the people who came to her earlier but blamed her for not disclosing the real identity of the child because she was looking for a male child.

A resident said that around May a baby got missing and has not been found since, adding that they were surprised how Nkechi got to know the name of the sister to the baby that got missing.

“We believe that the girl and her group have been involved in this business for long, they must be the ones responsible for that baby that got missing in our area some months ago. How did she know Mmayen?’’ he wondered.

Police sources at Atakpa police station also confirmed to Saturday Vanguard that the suspect was in their custody and that the matter is still under investigation. Efforts to speak with the suspect did not yield dividends as the police declined the request.