I only assisted a man to get his daughter, says suspect

The suspects

• Police parade abductors of three-year-old girl sold for N500,000

Twenty-eight-year-old Grace John accused of kidnapping her boss’ daughter, Oluwasemilore Adebiyi, has said she only assisted the baby’s real father to collect her.

John was paraded at the Lagos State Police Command yesterday alongside two other women, Rita Eze and Ugochi Nweke, alleged to be buyers of the three-year-old girl.

It would be recalled that the little girl, who was kidnapped on January 28 around Alagbado area of Lagos, had been sold to three different buyers in the eastern part of the country for prices ranging from N500,000 to N600,000, before she was eventually rescued in Aba, Abia.

According to the apprentice, Samuel approached her and told her that the baby’s mother, Mrs. Oluwatobiloba Adebiyi, was his lover and got pregnant for him before marrying another man.

She claimed it was the said Samuel who took her to the woman’s shop at Alagbado in January, where she later took the child and carried her to her alleged grandmother.

John denied reports that she was responsible for the kidnapping of other children across the state, insisting that she was not a kidnapper. The police had alleged that the child was sold to three different buyers for N500,000 and N600,000 before her eventual rescue in Aba, Abia State.

But John said: “Samuel told me the woman was his former girlfriend, who married another man and that he wanted to take his child from her for proper care. Samuel took me to the woman’s shop in Alagbado. I pretended that I wanted to learn bead making from her and we agreed on the modalities.

“After seven days, I told the woman I was going to buy Gala and I took the girl with me to Kola Bus Stop where I met Samuel, who instructed me to take her to his grandmother in Onitsha, because he is in school. The following day, I boarded a bus to Onitsha and met the woman (Rita Eze). I handed over the child to her and she gave me the sum of N60,000 for transport.

“I never knew the child was not Samuel’s and I have never thought what I did was kidnapping. I just wanted to help a man, who cried to me that his child was not being properly taken care of. I have not done it before.”

Corroborating John’s story, Eze said she knew Samuel through an old classmate of hers, who told her they needed someone to take proper care of his child. “I met my old friend at an event in December and she told me her nephew had a child they needed someone to take proper care of.

“She gave Samuel my number and he called me to say his girlfriend would bring a child from Lagos, When Grace brought the girl, Samuel told me to sell the girl, which I gave to Ugochi.

“Ugochi gave me N500,000, which I gave Grace N60,000, I took N40,000 and I sent the rest to Samuel. I never knew him before. I thought the child was his. I never knew the child was kidnapped, I only accepted to help sell the child because I needed money to pay my house rent,” she said.

The third suspect, Ugochi noted that she never collected any money from the deal, saying that she was not aware the girl was kidnapped. She claimed she did it to help a friend who was unable to conceive.

“I told Rita if she had or knew any motherless child that there was someone who was in need of child to adopt and she told me she would get back to me.

“When she called me that she had the child, I asked if it was genuine and she said yes. I informed my friend who provided the money. I did not take anything from the money I handed everything to Rita,” she said.

Lagos State police boss, Fatai Owoseni, said the suspects would be charged to court immediately after investigation.

He also advised parents and guardians to be watchful and very conscious of people they employ as housemaids and apprentice to prevent similar occurrence.

In this article:
Rita EzeUgochi Nweke
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