Gunmen invaded the labour room of a maternity home in Nkwoegwu, Ohuhu, in Umuahia North LGA of Abia State and took away a new born baby while nurses were battling to save the mother from bleeding to death.
The baby, a boy, was still dripping with blood when the evil men seized and folded him with the bed sheet in which he was lying.
The mother, Mrs. Eberechi Ihezukwu, says she still thinks that she is in one deep dream, which she will wake up from. “I only heard the cry of my baby and I asked the nurse its sex and she told me that it was a baby boy. I have had three girls for my husband and this is the first male child. My heart was joyful as I felt that I have got an identity in my husband’s house.
With the joy, I was happy that if the nurses stopped the bleeding, its arrival would be a consolation for my travails. “Now see what they have done to me. My breasts are heavy with milk; it is a burden I have refused to bear. They should please bring back my baby to suck my breasts. I refuse to believe that my baby has gone; the God who put it in my womb for nine months before its delivery will fish out the perpetrators and my baby will be brought back to me.
Peace will continue to elude those who have taken it until they bring it back to me,” Mrs. Ihezukwu prayed. Her husband, Clifford Ihezukwu, a radio/television repairer, said what was too much for him to understand was how the police, who he reported the incident to turned him into a suspect and locked him up in a cell for two days (Tuesday to Thursday) until he allegedly bailed himself with N15, 000.
“On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at about 2pm, my wife who was already heavy with a baby told me she was going to hospital (Our Lady of Apostles, Nkwoegwu, Ohuhu, Umuahia North LGA of Abia State) where she normally puts to bed. Later, she phoned me, seeking for my consent as the nurses wanted to give her hot drip to help her deliver of the baby since during her three previous pregnancies, there was no time she was given such hot drip before she put to bed. Instantly, I gave my consent if that would be the solution to the problem.
I learnt that the drip was at about 6pm. By 7pm, I went there to see her since it is within a short distance from my home. When I got to the maternity, I saw my wife’s sister rejoicing; she told me that my wife had just put to bed. I thanked God and told her to take charge while I went back to check what I was cooking. I was there when she rushed back to the house and was shouting: “My stomach! My stomach!” I asked her what was amiss and she told me that gunmen invaded the maternity, kicked her in the stomach after overpowering the security man and collected everybody’s cell phones, including that of my wife who was still inside the labour room where the nurses were battling to stop the bleeding after the delivery.
They dashed into the labour room, grabbed the baby who was still dripping with blood and dashed off. My wife was not yet conscious of what was going on as she battled for survival after the nurses had administered her with some injection to stop the bleeding. So, I rushed to the maternity. When I got there, the whole place was locked; I went round knocking at the windows until someone opened. When they narrated how gunmen carried out their operation and took my baby away, I took my wife and went straight home.
“When I later came back to the maternity, soldiers had besieged the arena. After asking questions, the soldiers picked the five nurses and I told them that my wife was still bleeding and appealed to them to allow one nurse to attend to her and they obliged me. After some time, policemen came and asked us what happened and I told them what transpired. Then, they asked me to come to the station in the morning and report the matter officially.
They asked me and I directed them to the home of the owner of the maternity and they left. In the morning, I was attending to my wife and children when they came and asked me why I had not come to the station as they directed me. Then, I told them that I was still attending to my wife and children and would soon be with them. Shortly after, I went to Afugiri Police Station to make an entry. On getting there, the policemen who came to my house earlier were not present so I waited for about four hours before they came back as I was told that they went to Umuosu, the home of the owner of the maternity.
I told the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) what I knew about the matter. When he asked why I left the maternity I told him that I went to feed my children and look after my wife who was still down. After another two hours, I told them that I was going to eat and see how my wife and children were doing. As I was speaking with him, he ordered that I should be kept behind the counter. My brother who came with me had to go and buy malt and snacks for me to eat because I was already famished. “Then the owner of the maternity, Mrs. Dan Mbakwe and her husband came with my Sister- in-Law. About 4pm, I asked them what my offence was and why I should not be allowed to go home and see my family, but the policemen kept mute. After some time, they started intimidating and telling me that I was the number one suspect in the case and that I would soon be taken to see the Commissioner of Police and I said ok. “At about 5 pm, they brought out a Hilux van, put me, my sister in-law, Mrs. Mbakwe and her husband and the securityman at the hospital in it and took us to the State CID headquarters. At the State CID, I told them my story and they told me that it was late for me to be released and that I would be locked up till the next day.
They asked me to pull off my dress and then hauled my sister and me in-law into cell. But they kept Mrs. Mbakwe, her husband and the securityman at the counter. Then they all left and handed over to another set of policemen on duty. “In the morning, just before people started coming to work, they put us (the trio) into cell for about an hour to look as if all of us had been inside the cell all night. I then asked the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) what my offence was and he told me that no one had come for me. He said that he had asked them to bring N20, 000 for my bail. ‘Are you asking that amount of money from some one who had been passing through such a trauma?’ I asked the man who came for me later – Chief Ukaobasi.
I told him to look into my trouser pocket at the counter, maintaining that I had N8, 000 inside it. He found the money intact, added N2, 000 to it and paid the police with a promise to bring a balance of N5, 000 if they released me. On Thursday, they released me to go home. I then borrowed N5, 000 from a neigbour and sent to them to bring the total sum to N15, 000. But by I pm on that Thursday, the owner of the hospital and the security man were released. That is what I’m passing through. “I wonder why I should be made to go through this after my baby had been kidnapped and my wife left at a point of death.
“The name of the lady who signed my bail bond is Chioma. I ran to the police to help me because I had nobody and the police threw me into cell and turned me into a suspect instead of helping me to look for my stolen child. I am calling on the relevant authorities to come to my rescue. I have no one to fight for me,” he lamented. When contacted on phone, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ambrose Aisabor, who was shocked said he was not aware of the matter.
“Where did this happen; I’m not aware of this incident; I have to find out,” the CP replied. When Daily Sun visited the maternity along Nkwoegwu road in Ohuhu. It was under lock and key. Daily Sun also visited the home of the Mbakwes, owners of the maternity at Umuosu, Okauga and did not find any body at home for comments.