Stolen baby recovered after 22 days, hale, hearty

JUBILATION IN OGUN COMMUNITY
BY SIJIBOMI OYEDEPO-FATAYO
There has been jubilation aplenty in the
home of Nojim and Mariam Bello, the couple
in Ifo, a community in Ogun State, whose
17-day-old baby, Balikis, was on October 23,
2015 by Ife Yekini, a woman who had
visited the mother, ostensibly to rejoice with
her, following the birth of the baby.
The baby was recovered in Sango-Ota, Ogun
State on November 14 and re-united with
her parents, thus ending the harrowing
trauma they experienced in the wake of the
abduction.
Trouble began for the family when Yekini
visited Mariam Bello, on the pretext of
congratulating her on the birth of the child.
Baby Balikis is the result of the love
relationship between 16-year-old Mariam
and Nojim, 40, which began two years ago
and eventually led to a pregnancy. Balikis
was born on October 6 and the naming was
held eight days after on October 13 at the
home of Nojim’s elder brother. Three days
later, Mariam returned to Nojim’s house. But
on October 23, 2015, the woman at the
centre of the alleged abduction saga, Yekini,
visited Mariam, who warmly welcomed her,
though she had never met her in the past.
Recalling what transpired that evil day,
Mariam told Sunday Sun: “When she came,
I received her even though I never knew her
before that day. But she insisted that she
knew me from where I worked as a shop
assistant at Iyana-logbo. I did not want to
be rude so I asked her to come in. She sat
down and asked to see the baby’s face. In
fact, she asked me to buy her food. After
sometime, she said she wanted to buy
clothes at the market and said that I should
follow her. I told her I couldn’t leave the
baby behind so she volunteered to carry the
baby on her back. We went out through the
back door and all who saw us kept asking
where we were going and why I was not
carrying my baby.”
Mariam said she told those who saw her
with the woman that she was aunt, who
wanted to buy some clothes for the baby. At
the market, they located a shop and Ife
picked a few of the clothes she desired. She
however gave the clothes and her purse to
Mariam saying she wanted to pick up some
money from a stall at the other end, asking
Mariam and the shop owner to wait. Once
Yekini was out of view of the duo of Maraim
and the shop owner, she left the market
and did not come back.
After waiting for a long while, Mariam
became very frantic, and began searching
the woman, crying as she moved up and
down the market.
As Sunday Sun learnt, when stall owners
and buyers at the market asked why she
was crying, she said: “My baby has been
stolen. I am a daughter of Bintinlaiye.
This prompted someone to call Nojim’s aunt,
Mrs. Hadijat Bello alias Bintinlaiye, on the
phone, who then sent daughter, Aminat to
the market to help Mariam. When Aminat
got there, Mariam explained what
happened, gave Aminat the purse given to
her by Yekini and fainted. Mariam was
immediately revived and rushed home by a
commercial motorcyclist and her in-law.
Continuing the tale, Aminat, told Sunday
Sun: “When I opened the purse, I found
some spoilt phones that had no batteries or
simcards and a lotto paper. That was all that
was in the purse, there was nothing of
value. She should not have allowed her
carry that baby or referred to her as her
aunty to people who asked her where she
was going.”
According to Mrs Hadijat Bello, Nojim’s aunt,
who doubles as his mother, Mariam had a
child last year but she mistakenly slept on
the baby, who died a day to the naming
ceremony.
While Nojim and Mariam pined away,
traumatized by the theft of their newborn
baby girl, providence quietly got into the
mix and gave the Yekini, no peace of mind.
When she could no longer endure the
torment on her conscience as the baby’s
guardian angel pounded on the door of her
heart, she carried the baby in a box to the
side of a road in Sango Ota with intent to
dump her there for a passerby to rescue.
The passerby turned out to be a commercial
motorcyclist who caught Yekini in the very
act of dumping the baby. On sighting the
motorcyclist, Yekini ran off. The man raised
the alarm, which attracted people around,
who chased and caught her and dragged
her to Onipan Police Station, Sango-Ota.
Police officers at the station called Nojim,
informin him that the baby had been found.
He sent Aminat, who rushed over and
positively identified the baby as her cousin’s
child.
As it turned out, Yekini had initially claimed
at the police station, she took the baby from
Ibadan. The police officers asked her to take
them to where she got the baby in Ibadan.
Seeing that the game was up, Yekini con­
fessed that she took the baby from Ifo town.
Narrating what happened at the station,
Aminat said: “During interrogation, Yekini
said she cast a spell on Maraim, to enable
her take the baby from her. She mentioned
two places where she hid for some days
after stealing the baby, before selling her for
N30,000 to Baba Alaye who uses babies for
money rituals. Unfortunately, the Baba
could not use the baby because her spirit
was strong. So he called her to take back
the baby to the family, warning that she
must not kill the child. Yekini confessed that
after she handed over the baby to the
herbalist, she started falling sick and her
condition got worse when the baby was
returned to her house. Since she could not
come back to Ifo, she decided to dump the
baby in a bush near a prominent farm in the
town where she was caught.”
More worrisome is the revelation by Yekini
that two other people aided her in the baby-
stealing caper. According to her, one of the
accomplices was a neighbour of Nojim called
Baba Bee and a neighbour of Mrs Hadijat
Bello.
Expressing joy that his baby was returned
hale and hearty, Nojim thanked the police
for the good way they handled the matter.
He said: “I appreciate what the Police did for
me and my family. I pray that the Police and
the court would handle the case well and
punish that woman.”
Source: SunNewsOnline

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