The Police in Rivers State has arrested two suspects allegedly linked to the disappearance of a nursing mother in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Mrs Chinonye Queen Uzoma and her three-month-old daughter were declared missing weeks after they were abducted by a child a trafficker who killed her and threw her body inside a forest while her child was sold.
The two suspects, Mary Ishmael (68) and her 23-year-old accomplice, Chinedu Nwachukwu were among the 15 suspects paraded by the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, in Port Harcourt, on Thursday.
Nwachukwu was arrested by men of 48 Police Mobile Squad during a stop-and-search duty at Omerelu community, a border town between Rivers and Imo State while carrying a five-month-old baby.
It was gathered that he could not explain how he came about the baby and was detained at Elele Divisional Police Station and later transferred with the child to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Port Harcourt.
He was alleged to have confessed to having stolen the baby after dumping the mother’s body in a pit in an uncompleted building around Igwuruta, Ikwerre Local Government Area.
The CP said Nwachukwu confessed during interrogation that he also killed Uzoma, disposed her body in a forest and sold her baby to Ishmael for the sum of N250,000, while the latter sold the baby to a Benin, Edo State resident in the sum of N350,000.
Nwachukwu explained that Mary Ishmael was the one that sent him to snatch the babies. He explained further that after killing the first woman, he sold her baby to Ishmael in the sum of N250,000 and she resold the baby to somebody in Benin in the sum of N350,000.
According to him: “But while the first woman I sold her baby died in the process and I threw her body into a forest at Igwuruta where we live, the woman whose baby I was also going to sell to Mama (Ishmael) before I was arrested survived despite pushing her into a pit.”
“For the first woman, I hit her with a club in the back several times and she fell down and died. I then took the body and dumped it in a forest at Igwuruta.
“I have taken the police to where I threw her body. But before we got there, her flesh had decayed, leaving only the bone. This happened since June. It is now three months since I killed her.
“The second woman survived the attack. What happened was that I hit her once in the back of her head, quickly pushed her into a pit in an uncompleted building and ran away with her baby. It was while I was going to take the baby to Mama where she asked me to bring the baby that I was arrested by the police.
“When I was arrested, the police asked me the whereabouts of the mother of the baby and I told them that she has died, narrating how I killed her and pushed her into a pit.
“I thought that like the first woman, she would die in the pit. But when I took the police to the pit, she was still alive but very weak. The police brought her out and took her to the hospital, and she survived.”
The 68-year-old Ishmael who claimed to be a nurse said she carries out child delivery for pregnant women.
According to her: “It was Chinedu (Nwachukwu) who approached me, saying that his girlfriend gave birth to a baby and ran away. He said he lacked the capacity to nurture the baby, so he wanted to give her to a couple that was looking for children for a fee.
“He said there is no cause for alarm, that the baby’s mother was aware of the decision to sell her.
“I was sceptical initially and did not want to get involved, but he persisted. It so happened that a family in Benin had some time ago approached me to look out for such babies for them; that they would be interested in raising such babies for themselves.
“I called the lady and told her of the available child. She came down here and I gave it to her in the sum of N350,000, out of which I gave Chinedu N250,000.”