The Lagos State Police Command and the Lagos State Government have been silent on the investigation into the disappearance of a baby at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba.
A policeman attached to the formation, Samuel Ukpabio, was said to have taken the child from his mother, Fortune Obafuoso, while claiming to be acting for a government ministry.
The girl’s mother, Fortune Obafuoso, said that on Friday, December 23, 2022, when she gave birth to her baby, the police officer arrested her and took her along with her children, including the newborn, to the SCID, under the accusation that she wanted to sell the baby, a claim she denied.
The 35-year-old woman explained that Ukpabio, while interrogating her at SCID, forcibly took her baby and handed it over to an as-yet-unidentified woman from a state ministry.
The policeman later gave her 15,000 naira and threatened her not to come back for the baby.
He sent her another 170,000 naira after she kept demanding the child.
“The last time I saw my newborn was at SCID, where a policeman, Samuel Ukpabio, colluded with people who were trying to help me and stole my baby. All I want is my baby,” the 35-year-old woman told our correspondent in a special report published last Friday.
State police spokesman Benjamin Hundeyin said the officer had been arrested.
A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, said it was not enough for the police to say that Ukpabio had been arrested.
Falana, a senior Nigerian lawyer, said: “If they arrested the policeman (Obafuoso), why didn’t they charge him? It’s a kidnapping case. If the mother asks about her son, the policeman who took him must introduce him. Where is the child? The child is nursing, so where has she taken the child and who is taking care of it now? Then the baby must be declared missing and the police must explain.”
Another SAN, Isiaka Olagunju, said that giving a baby up for adoption was not a crime as long as proper procedures were followed.
He pointed out that it was wrong for people to give their baby up for adoption without going through the appropriate ministry in the state.
“As for the police and the ministry that took the child, there must be a disclosure about who adopted the child and where it was taken; she (Obafuoso) must know because she has not given the child up for adoption since she was arrested by the police.
“Another thing is that where did the police get the N170,000 that went into your account? Who gave the police that money and who authorized the payment? Therefore, there is secrecy in all transactions involving the police and the woman, which must be properly investigated. She needs to get the right advice to help ensure that everything goes smoothly. The policeman (Ukpabio) must be duly investigated,” added Olagunju.
Efforts to contact the State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Olusegun Dawodu, were unsuccessful as he did not return his calls when contacted by our correspondent.
Contacted for a follow-up reaction, the police spokesman said: “They (SCID) have not sent me the update. I have spoken with the Deputy Commissioner of Police (SCID). Once you send me an update, I’ll give it to you.”