By Michael Olugbode
The Independent Investigative Panel on Allegations of Human Rights Violations by the Defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police has rejected the DNA result presented before it by the Nigeria Police concerning the maternity of a minor, Master Elijah Tanko, who was allegedly abducted by child traffickers, insisting on an independent test by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The Chairman of the Panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) at a resumed sitting on Monday, disclosed that the panel was not satisfied with the DNA result, which was conducted and presented on March 2, 2021, by a consultant pathologist at Asokoro District Hospital, Dr. Kelvin Nwabueze, on the request of the Nigeria Police.
Galadima said: “On March 2, 2021, the panel resolved to conduct another DNA test in view of the various contending maternity over Elijah and went further to instruct the National Human Rights Commission to conduct another independent DNA test to unravel the issues surrounding the maternity of Elijah.”
It would be recalled that Nwabueze stated before the panel that the police presented the following women Tanko Esther, Ike Ifeyinwa, Opara Rosemary Chidiebere, Jamiu Muyinat, all laying claim to be the biological mother of Elijah.
Nwabueze stated in his testimony that the samples of the child and respective women were captured and sent to Lagos for analysis. He added that the maternity investigation revealed that Rosemary Chidiebere was the biological mother of the said child.
Esther came before the Justice Galadima led panel in November 2020 to allege the abduction and enforced disappearance of the child against one Chioma in October 9, 2019.
Esther said that she noticed that her missing son was among the photos that went viral on social media and this led her to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to lay complain in order to get her son back.
Following her complaint, the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team called for a DNA test to ascertain the maternity of the child, the result of the test was later presented to the panel during one of its sittings but was subsequently rejected by the panel, which today directed the NHRC to conduct and present another report within a month.
Similarly, the chairman of the panel has charged the Nigeria Police to file their final written address on October 20, 2021, in defence of a petition of an alleged extra-judicial killing of one Mr. Festus Idehen, before taking decision on the matter.
The chairman noted that the police had been served with the written address by the complainant’s counsel, Kuyik Usoro, and they were expected to have responded accordingly and filed the same before the panel.
Counsel to the Nigerian Police, Mr. Umoh Inah, had earlier urged the panel to give them more time within which they would look at the complainant’s written address and respond.
Inah noted that the complainant’s written address was served on him late and that he has not been able to study it to enable him take necessary steps to respond to it.
On the other hand, lead counsel to the panel, Chino Obiagwu (SAN) called the attention of the panel to the fact that the police was properly served with the written address of the complainant first in March and subsequently on the 13th of October 2021, meaning he was properly given opportunity to respond to the said address as required by the law.
It would be recalled that on the November 18, 2020, Ms. Doris Idedia, sister to the deceased, testified before the panel that one Inspector Kingsley arrested her brother in Kaduna over an allegation of car theft.
Doris had alleged in her narration that Kingsley incited mob action against her brother, who, according to her, was seriously beaten. Thereafter, Kingsley allegedly brought the victim from Kaduna to Abuja in a cruel, inhuman degrading manner where he was continuously tortured to death.