A middle aged man from Uyo in Akwa Ibom State is cooling his feet in Police custody over alleged case of child theft.
The man simply identified as Emmanuel living along Udokang Lane in Uyo Local Government Area, was said to have disappeared with a one-year-six-month old baby for purported sale until a search party burst the attempt.
An eye witness said the mother of little Adaeze, had instructed a neighbour to watch over the baby and left for market. On her return, the woman discovered to her chagrin that the child who was sleeping when she left for market was nowhere to be found.
Shocked, Mabel, the mother of the child telephoned her husband and latter raised an alarm, an action that attracted passers-by and neighbours to the scene to unravel the puzzle behind the sad incident.
According to the eye witness, a man (name withheld) told the mother that he saw one Emmanuel living in that same compound, clutching a baby and boarding keke tricycle to an unknown destination.
Straightnews reporter interviewed one Mrs. Ann Frank whom the mother of Adaeze wanted her to watch over the baby, she said ‘’I was in the house on the fateful day when the child’s mother pleaded with me to watch over the baby who was sleeping for her.
I was busy in my room arranging children’s dressings. After 30 minutes, the mother came back from market to discover that the baby had disappeared. She raised an alarm and we started a search for the baby. About 4 p.m. the child‘s father brought some policemen to arrest me for interrogation.
Not long, a man (names withheld) appeared and reported that he saw one Emmanuel in keke going away with the baby. Then the police left me and went on a manhunt for the suspect. Thank God the police arrested him when he attempted to sell the baby.”
The child’s father, Uchenna Dick, a telephone dealer in Uyo, said he was distraught on hearing the news of his child’s theft, saying ‘’I was at my business place- Plaza, Uyo, when my wife called and told me about the disappearance of the baby.
I left for ‘A’ Division Police Division in Uyo and thereafter to Anti-kidnapping unit at Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia still in Uyo to lodge report on the incident. On coming home at 11 p.m, an identified man approached me that I should accompany him to where he suspected the baby might have been kept.
When we reached Ekit Itam (the location the suspect was fished), I saw a police van at a distance with some policemen on official duty. I reported the matter to them and they led the operation to the location where the suspect was keeping my child. The police then arrested one Emmanuel”.
The Akwa Ibom Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Chukwu Ikechukwu, has confirmed the matter, saying that the alleged offence is being handled by Anti-Kidnapping Unit, Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia which is responsible for investigating cases of child theft and kidnapping.
Ikechukwu revealed that the police would charge the suspect to court for child theft and not kidnapping since he did not ask for any ransom when he committed the offence.