From CHUKS ONUOHA, Umuahia
The police in Umuahia, Abia State have said they are investigating possible involvement of the father of the baby kidnapped inside labour room in Nkwoegwu Ohuhu, in Umuahia North Local Government Area of the state.
The Acting Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Jonathan Amaechi, stated this in his office at Police Headquarters, Bende Road, in the state capital, while interacting with Daily Sun.
He said the police were working very hard to unravel the mystery behind the kidnapping of the newborn baby minutes after it was delivered.
Amachi said the police were not satisfied with the woman’s husband’s attitude when he learnt of the wife’s delivery, wondering why a husband, whose wife was delivered of a baby, would be frowning instead of rejoicing.
Amaechi stated that the story before the police was that when the husband of the woman in labour was told that his wife had been delivered of a baby, he never bothered to see whether she was alive or dead.
Rather he just left the hospital and 15 minutes later, some gunmen struck and took away the baby, not minding that it was still dripping with blood.
He said: “The story before us is that one Eberechi Ihezukwu, at about 7.30 pm on Tuesday, November 13 showed signs of labour and told the husband that she was going to have a baby and then left. At the maternity, she was taken to the labour room where she safely had her baby.
“Surprisingly, nobody knew why her husband did not go to see the wife. Rather he turned and left. Not quite 15 minutes later, two gunmen came and asked of the whereabouts of Eberechi, went straight to the labour room where she was lying and snatched the baby who was still covered with blood,” the police spokesman said. He said further that it was at that juncture that one of the nurses on duty called the owners of the hospital, who instead of calling the police invited some soldiers. “It was later that the relations went to Ohuhu Police Station. They later saw that the matter was too much for them and referred it to state CID. Right now, the state CID is on it. They want to find out who is saying the truth.
Contrary to news reports, the husband was informed that his wife gave birth to a baby girl and he started frowning showing that he was not happy because his wife already had three girls. Not quite 15 minutes after he left, the gunmen struck. The issue that his wife gave birth and he was told but he refused to go and see whether she was alive or dead, leaves room for suspicion,” Amaechi said. “As at now, the only persons who can say the sex of the baby are the nurses who were there when the child was born and but now, they are nowhere to be found. As at quarter to nine this morning, (on the said day), I was at the state CID and they said they were still working on the source of the information: whether the baby was a boy or a girl. It was gathered that after the delivery, the man in question visited the maternity and was told that his wife had given birth to another baby girl.”
However, the comments of the police image maker runs contrary to Ihezukwu’s statement made to Daily Sun that he was told that his wife gave birth to a baby boy and that he only left the maternity to prepare food for his children at home since the maternity was just a stone throw from his house. While trying to puncture some of Ihezukwu’s claims, Amaechi disclosed to Daily Sun part of his discussion with the Assistant Commissioner of Police at the state CID. He said: “The assistant commissioner in charge of state CID said the owners of the hospital were asked to go home based on their ages and health conditions. What then would have made him frown upon hearing that his wife was delivered of a baby?” the acting PPRO queried.
He also said the new assistant commissioner in charge of state CID told him that all the suspects were on bail, and that they were still looking for the whereabouts of the nurses, contrary to the news relayed by the state radio, that “police had reportedly arrested four nurses and the husband of the woman, Mr. Clifford Ihezukwu.” Meanwhile, an air of uncertainty had enveloped Nkwoegwu, the community where the incident happened.
A source told Daily Sun that Clifford Ihezukwu had not been seen and wondered whether he was released by the police to be reporting back daily or not. It was also not known whether it was in continuation of their investigation of the kidnap or on the grounds of the allegation Ihezukwu levelled against the police that he was made to pay N15, 000 before being released on bail. It was gathered that the police came again some days ago and whisked away his wife. At as the time of filing this report, she had not returned.
However, the police had released the statement allegedly made by Ihezukwu at the time the incident was first reported. It reads: “Clifford Ihezukwu, 41 years, said that on November 13, he was aware that his wife was in labour and left for the maternity. It was one Nneka Friday, my sister-in-law that told me that my wife had delivered and on hearing this, I left the maternity without seeing my wife. I was in the house when Nneka Friday came shouting that two gunmen struck, kicked her in the stomach, went straight for the baby and collected it.”
In his own statement to the police read by the PPRO to Daily Sun, the security man at the maternity, Mr. Chukwunyere Mbakwe said it was about 15 minutes after Ihezukwu left that he heard a knock on the gate and when he opened, two men ordered him to surrender at gunpoint, went straight to the labour room and folded the baby still covered with blood with a bed sheet and left.” When contacted for comment, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Abia State Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue expressed disappointment that he was not contacted before the first publication was made by Daily Sun. He said he didn’t want to get involved at this stage.
“If I had been contacted I would have made my imput alongside others, but at this point, I don’t want to be involved in the matter,” he said.