Dreadlock hair saves 22-month-old baby from ritualists
By Nkechinyere Oginyi, Abakaliki
A 22-month old baby, Olisaemeka Ofoke who was stolen from the mother Miss Chinasa Ofoke, on October 31 at Ekewulimiri Street in Abakaliki, for sale to suspected ritualists in Port Harcourt, Rivers state had his life saved on account of his dreadlocks hair. Orient Daily gathered that on arrival in Port Harcourt, the suspected ritualists eventually refused to buy the baby boy because he has natural dreadlocks hair (Dada). Two men, Nduka Uzor and his friend, Chimezie Christopher who have been accused of stealing the baby from the mother, for sale to the suspected ritualists, have been dragged before a magistrate court in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state. According to Miss Ofoke, a native of Ogbala ishieke of Ebonyi local government area of the state, she left her child in the custody of the 36-yearold Nduka Uzor, her lover boy, that fateful day and went to wash their dirty clothes only to return and discover that he had fled with her baby and was not seen for days until divine intervention led to rejection of the child by the buyer. The duo eventually were arrested and dragged before an Abakaliki Magistrate court on suit number, MAB \ 851c \2019 on a three-count charge bordering on child stealing, unlawful confinement and deprivation of the minor from the parent’s liberty and care. When the matter came up for hearing on November 25, 2019, the defence counsel Onah prayed the court for bail of the accused persons, saying that they had no previous crime record in the court and have reliable sureties. The police prosecutor opposed the bail application insisting that they would jump bail and that they were not residents within the jurisdiction of the court as they work as syndicates from Abia state, Port Harcourt, Ebonyi state and were arrested in Port Harcourt as they went fortransactions . He appealed that instead of granting them bail, accelerated hearing should be done on the matter to obtain justice for the innocent one-year-and-ten months old minor. The trial chief magistrate Nnenna Onuoha after hearing from the defendants who pleaded not guilty, granted them bail in the sum of N200,000. The accused were told to produce sureties resident within the jurisdiction of the court and they (sureties) should be owners of landed property which must have certificates of occupancy, and should also show evidence of tax payment for three years. Considering the tender age of the complainant who is a single mother, the matter was adjourned to a later date and transferred to Family High court sitting in Abakaliki for private hearing.