A Federal Government’s Independent Investigation Panel (IPP) on the activities of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has ordered the conduct of a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test to ascertain the biological mother of a disputed six-year-old boy, Elijah Tanko.
Chairman of the panel, being coordinated by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd.), said the test would be conducted by an independent expert to be engaged by the NHRC.
The retired Justice of the Supreme Court said the test became necessary because the panel’s members were not satisfied with the evidence presented by officials of the NPF.
One of the four women claiming to be the boy’s mother, Esther Tanko, had petitioned the panel, stating that the baby was abducted from her mother on September 9, 2019, while she was returning from work.
Mrs. Tanko, who later testified before the panel, said she raced to the Bwari Division of the NPF in Abuja to report how her child was snatched from her by a woman and her male accomplice, who both sped off in a car.
She added that while waiting to hear from the police, she later saw her son on television being paraded by the police as one of the children recovered from human traffickers.
Mrs. Tanko said she went to the police station, hoping to be handed her child, but that the police officials told her some other women were equally claiming to be the baby’s mum.
She said although the police later suggested the conduct of DNA test, the process had remained inconclusive, which prompted her to petition the panel.
Mrs. Tanko tendered three exhibits – a birth certificate, polio vaccination card and a photograph of the boy – in support of her claim to the child.
The Investigating Police Officer (IPO) who handled the case, Inspector Desmond Habila, told the panel that the boy was recovered in Abia State from Ifeoma Eboniyi and Emmanuel Onyekwere, who are said to be members of a child abduction syndicate.
Habila added that the boy was sold to a woman, identified simply as Uloma in November 2019 by Ifeoma.
The police officer identified the other three women laying claim to the child as Ifeyinwa Vera, Rosemary Chidiebere and Jumui Muniat.
Out of the four women the police said were claiming the child, only Mrs. Tanko attended the panel’s sittings, testified and tendered exhibits. The others never showed up.
At its siting on Monday, the panel adjourned the matter till November 19 for the report of the DNA test.
It urged the NHRC to engage experts for the DNA test.
The panel, which resumed sitting on Monday after about seven months’ break, heard seven other cases.
It adjourned sitting on four other cases for its decision (report) and three others for final adoption.