More and more bizarre acts are happening in Kwara State, some of them stranger than fiction. Or how does one explain that a woman, on hearing that her friend delivered a new-born baby, went to share her joy only to steal the baby and abscond with it? The incident has set tongues wagging in Oke-Ola area of Oro in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, where the visiting friend stole the nine-month-old baby, Funke Alaba. Thankfully, the baby was found alive in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, six days after.
Alaba was said to have been kidnapped by her mother’s friend, simply identified as Shade, when she visited her friend in Oro recently. It was gathered that the mother of the baby, who was excited by her friend’s visit, decided to prepare her a meal. While the mother was in the kitchen, Shade was alone in the room with baby Funke.
When the food was ready, Funke’s mum came out to serve her guest, only to be confronted by an empty room - as neither her nine-month-old baby nor her friend were anywhere in sight. Immediately, she raised the alarm. But it was too late, her friend had disappeared with the baby. Shade headed for Ilorin, a distance of about 25 kilometres and went shopping for the baby at the Ilorin Market where she bought some clothes before she took the baby to Ibadan.
At Ibadan, Shade posed as the mother of the baby, narrating how God graciously "visited" her with her own baby. Shade had been out of Ibadan for two years, so her neighbours and friends believed that whilst she was away, she was pregnant and was delivered of the baby. "Everybody was happy with her and her new baby until she started feeling a little uncomfortable and fidgety, and then she suddenly decided to abandon the baby and ran away to an unknown destination," a source said.
Briefing journalists on the incident yesterday, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chinweke Asadu, said the case was reported at the Oro Police Divisional Headquarters on January 18 and was later transferred to the state CID.
According to him, "It was a case of a nine-month-old child that was missing and on receiving the information, the state CID moved to Ibadan. On getting there, around Oronyan area of Ibadan, the nine-month-old baby girl was discovered and her name is Funke Alaba while the suspect was nowhere to be found."
Asadu said the baby had been recovered and was released to her parents yesterday [Wednesday]. Mr. Amos Alaba, the father of the baby, thanked God and the state police command for making it possible to recover the baby.
Also in Kwara State, two suspects believed to have murdered a three-year-old girl for ritual, were yesterday remanded in prison custody, after their bail application was turned down by Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed of Ilorin Magistrates’ Court.
The accused, Abdulrasheed Usman and Jamiu Aliu, were ordered remanded at the Federal Medium Security Prison, Mandala, Ilorin. They were alleged to have cut off the head of the girl, Aliya Usman of Ile Onigboro, Ilorin on January 7, and deposited the body in a soak-away pit, while most of her vital parts and organs were cut off.
The accused were arrested after a report by the father of the deceased, Tajudeen Usman, that his daughter was discovered missing while she was playing at the back of his house.
According to him, on January 8 at about 5am, he found the girl’s corpse badly mutilated at the backyard inside the soak-away pit adjacent to the window of Abdulrasheed (first accused), who is a brother to the father of the deceased.
The accused were arraigned on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide, contrary to Sections 97 and 221 of Penal Code Law.
The police prosecutor, Sergeant Nasiru Yusuf, who had informed the court that investigation was yet to be completed, objected to the bail of the accused, arguing that the offence was capital in nature and not bailable. He urged the court to remand them in prison custody pending the outcome of investigation.
The defence counsel, Mr. Ibrahim Shuaib, who prayed the court to admit the accused to bail pending the conclusion of the investigation, argued that the 1999 Constitution still presumes an accused innocent until proven guilty.
Delivering his ruling, Magistrate Mohammed stated that the gravity of the offence was the highest known to law, and so he refused to grant them bail. Rather, he ordered that the accused be remanded at the Federal Medium Security Prison, Ilorin. The case was adjourned till February 12 for further mention.