The federal government’s Independent Investigation Panel (IPP) on the activities of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the police, has ordered the conduct of a Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) test to ascertain the actual mother of a disputed six-year-old boy, Elijah Tanko.
Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd), chairman of the panel being coordinated by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), 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 Nigeria Police force (NPF).
One of the four women, Esther Tanko, claiming to be the mother of the boy, had petitioned the panel stating that he was abducted from her on September 9, 2019, while she was returning from work.
The woman, who appeared before the panel, said she ran to the Bwari division of the police in Abuja to file a report about how her child was abducted 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.
Esther stated that she immediately visited the police station with the hope that her missing child would be handed over to her.
She said to her surprise, police officials informed her that some other women were equally claiming to be the mother of the same child.
The woman said although the police later suggested the conduct of DNA test, the process has remained inconclusive, which informed her petition to the panel.
Easther tendered three exhibits – a birth certificate, polio vaccination card and a photograph of the boy – in support of her claim to the child.
In his testimony, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Inspector Desmond Habila, who said he handled the case, told the panel that the boy was recovered in Abia State from one Ifeoma Eboniyi and Emmanuel Onyekwere, said to be members of a child abduction syndicate.
Habila added that the boy was sold to one Uloma in November 2019 by Eboniyi.
He 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 are laying claim to the child, only Tanko attended the panel’s sittings, testified, and tendered exhibits.
At its siting on Monday, the panel adjourned the case till November 19, 2021, for the report of the DNA test.
It directed the NHRC to engage experts for the DNA test.