Two men arrested in connection with the gruesome death of a three-week-old baby on February 10, 2012 have implicated the father of the baby, a Naval rating, identified as Moses Joseph, as the alleged mastermind of the kidnap and death of the toddler.
The two suspects, Peter Elias, 29, and Amadu Bello, 21, who are being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department at Panti, Yaba, Lagos narrated how Joseph threw the baby into the lagoon at Liverpool.
Bello is described as Joseph’s personal motorcyclist.
He said Joseph was behind the plot that led to the kidnap of the baby before inviting him to the scene of the crime.
Amadu said in his statement to the police: “I am a motorcyclist and it was Joseph that gave me his motorcycle to ride for him, which I have been riding in the past three months.
“That fateful day, February 10, about 4am, I saw Joseph’s nine missed call on my phone and I called him back.
“He instructed me to come quickly with the bike to meet him.
“I rode the bike to him and I saw him standing at Point Road with a cartoon.
“Before I could ask him what the hurry was for, he ordered me to take him to Liverpool Bridge where he threw the carton into the lagoon.
“I do not know what is inside the cartoon but a dagger fell from his hip, which he asked me to keep for him.
“It was after I was arrested that I learnt that what Joseph threw inside the lagoon was his child.”
Peter, the other suspect, said the police should investigate the case thoroughly.
He wrote in his statement: “I am a loader of Dangote products to different parts of the country but that day I went to stay with my brother living under the Marine Bridge.
“About 2am, I saw six motorcycles and each of the motorcycle had two persons on it.
“They came to the Marine Bridge rejoicing and the Navy man was with them.
“Most of the boys are Kanuri.
“There is one called Okocha, another one called Danlami and they were jubilating and making noise.
“It was after they left that I found out from one of the boys that they were hired by the Navy man to kidnap a baby.
“I was just sleeping in the house when they arrested me two weeks after the incident.
“I do not know anything about this case but I know the boys who did it but they have fled the area.”
Peter added that policemen from the Ajeromi Police Station at Ajegunle arrested four of the suspects and later granted them bail.
He added: “I am surprised that Yusuf Elia, Dalami and the others who were initially arrested by the police at Ajegunle were later granted bail in the sum of N20,000;.
“The police asked me to bring N20,000 for bail but I said since I do not know anything about this matter, I will not pay.
“Moreso, I do not have the money and that was why they transferred us to Panti, whereas the people who committed this crime have been set free while others have fled.
“In order to resolve my innocence, I would appeal to the Commissioner of Police to investigate this matter very well, because I do not have anything to do with is crime.”
In order to ensure that the case is not swept under the carpet, Access to Justice, a non for profit, justice reform organisation in Lagos, is set to conduct a corona inquest into the death of the baby.
Joesph Otteh, the Executive Director of Access to Justice stated that AJ has taken up the case in order to prevail on the Naval authorities to release Joseph to face civil prosecution.
Otteh said: “This is not the first time that a case like this is brought against the Nigerian Navy but what we have experienced is that after a while, the case will not be mentioned anymore and the man will not face prosecution.
“But in this case, we are going to carry out a corona inquest into the death of this baby.
“We want the public to know what happened, to hear from the mother of the baby and the suspect.
“This way, we will lift the burden from the Navy so that the officer will face prosecution.”
Otteh added that AJ will work with other civil rights organisations to build a stronger case for Joseph’s prosecution so as to serve as a deterrent to others and also to ensure that Glory Yusuf, the mother of the baby, is compensated for the pains and trauma she has suffered over the gruesome murder of her baby.
Otteh added: “We are going to network with other civil rights organisatons.
“It is a great news that the Lagos State Government has shown interest in the case but basically we are building leverages with key actors and civil society groups to build up a stronger case against the erring officer.
“It is sad that nobody is talking about the mother of this baby, the pains and trauma she is facing.
“Aside from getting justice for the dead baby, we are also working with other civil right organisations to prevail on the Navy to compensate Glory Yusuf, the mother of the baby.”
Last weekend, the Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs, Risikat Akiode, said the state Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has directed his deputy, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope Adefulure, to take up the case and ensure that justice is done.
Also, the Lagos State Government has indicated its resolve to prosecute Joseph.
It wants the Navy to step up the investigation and hand over Joseph to the police for prosecution.
It can be recalled that the three weeks old baby, Happiness, was allegedly kidnapped by suspected hoodlums from her mother’s house at Boundary area of Ajegunle last month following alleged directives from the baby’s father, Joseph, that he does not want the baby, said to be a love child.