The police in Lagos State have arrested a woman, Jennifer Onyebuchi, for allegedly stealing a nine-month-old baby in the Ajegunle area of the state, and fleeing with him to Anambra State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Onyebuchi, who allegedly took the baby to Okija, Anambra State, was arrested on September 30 by operatives from the Lagos command, while the baby was also rescued.
Our correspondent gathered that Onyebuchi, who also hails from Anambra, had befriended the baby’s mother, Aina Adetola, for about two weeks before she reportedly carried out the act.
A resident of Orodu Street, where the suspect and the victim’s mother were shop owners, told our correspondent that Onyebuchi allegedly lied that she was going to buy an item for the baby when she fled with him.
The resident, who identified himself only as Uche, said, “It was on Saturday, September 26. We were all shocked that Jennifer (Onyebuchi) escaped with the nine-month-old baby. She had met the victim’s mother for just two weeks before she carried out the act.
“They were both shop owners in the area. On that day, Jennifer took the baby from his mother when he was crying and said she was going to buy him a bottle of soft drink from a nearby shop.
“When the mother waited for them to return, but did not see them, she raised the alarm. The matter was thereafter reported at the Ajegunle Police Division. Nobody suspected that Jennifer had a devilish motive. It turned out that the woman took the baby to a bus station and travelled on the same day to Okija, Anambra State.”
Our correspondent learnt that police operatives from Lagos, after being briefed on the incident, went on the trail of the suspect.
It was gathered that after four days of hiding, Onyebuchi was arrested in Okija, while the baby was also rescued by the police.
The baby’s mother, Adetola, told our correspondent that her husband sent her packing from their house, when he discovered that she had given their baby in error to a stranger.
She said, “I could not eat for four days. I thought I was going to run mad. I wanted to kill myself, but people continued to calm me down. My husband was so angry that he sent me out of his apartment, and I had to be sleeping in my friend’s house. He said if I did not bring the baby back, I should not return to his apartment. I wept throughout that period.
“I first met Jennifer (Onyebuchi) at a filling station around Boundary bus stop in Ajegunle. She would always assist me when I wanted to buy petrol. She had a shop in the area too. On that Saturday, she had come to my shop when my baby was crying. She carried him and said she was going to buy a drink for him.
“That was my mistake. After hours of waiting for them, I rushed to Akinbo Street at the house where I knew Jennifer stayed, only to be told that she had travelled. I was shocked. That was when I went to the police to make a report.”
A police source in Ajegunle said when operatives visited Jennifer’s rented apartment, a lover who harboured her told the police that he did not know the suspect’s relation except a spare parts dealer who brought her from the village.
He said, “The police located the spare parts dealer, who suggested that the woman might have travelled to her hometown in Okija, Anambra State. So, the dealer and the police went to Anambra, and they were on her trail for two days.
“On Wednesday, she was arrested. She and the baby were brought back to Lagos on the eve of Nigeria’s Independence Day.
“Some of the residents of the area wanted the police to release the suspect to them, so they would mob her, but that did not happen.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Joe Offor, had yet to be reached for comment on the incident, as his line did not connect as of press time.