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‘How child rights activist ‘sold’ my baby’

When Jennifer, 21, a secondary school graduate, was approached by a woman who claimed to be working with a child rights advocacy organization for assistance…

When Jennifer, 21, a secondary school graduate, was approached by a woman who claimed to be working with a child rights advocacy organization for assistance over her own unwanted pregnancy, she never suspected foul play. So she dropped her initial plan of giving out the baby to the Social Welfare Department under the Local Council of Karu, in Nasarawa State, where she lives.

The lady, called Mrs. Becky Damisa, who approached the young mom-to-be, hosted Jennifer, and also registered her to a private hospital for antenatal, where she eventually delivered a baby girl about a month later.

Mrs. Damisa, however, gave out the baby one week after its delivery to a childless couple, under terms that have been described as questionable. She has since been arrested by the police, and handed over to the Criminal Investigating Department (CID) under the FCT Police Command, and currently being investigated.

Jennifer explained to Daily Trust Saturday that Mrs. Damisa coerced her into changing her mind about handing the infant over to Social Welfare, saying the young mother wouldn’t have access to her child forever. “She took me to her home, where I stayed for about one month before I put to bed. After I had the baby, she stopped me from breastfeeding it for up to a week later, when she handed it over to the couple.”

Jennifer also said all the while, Mrs. Damisa denied her access to her family, cutting off communication with her dad, who lives in Masaka, and her mother, who lives in Makurdi. “She confiscated my SIM card, and replace it with a new one. It was after the birth that she asked me to visit my mother, who was not aware about my pregnancy in the first place. But instead I visited my uncle, who knew about it. On sighting me, he demanded to know the position of the pregnancy. Initially I told him that the baby had died at birth, as Mrs. Damisa told me to.”

Jennifer continued: “But when my uncle explained that to my father, they become suspicious, after some pressure, I revealed everything. My uncle reported the matter to Social Welfare, and to the Police Division in New Nyanya.”

Daily Trust Saturday gathered that Mrs. Damisa was arrested and detained, eventually calling the couple she had handed Jennifer’s infant to, to return it. Sources, additionally, said the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) gave back the baby to the couple, instead of its mother as demanded by her family.

The source said: “He insisted that he could not do anything else, because of a document presented to him by the couple, which bears the picture and signature of the baby’s mother, in addition to written consent that she has given out the baby willingly, and would not ever demand for it. Jennifer accepted the picture and signature as hers, but maintained that the consenting portion was not there when she signed. She, and her family, then took the matter to the Brekete Family programme on Human Rights Radio Abuja, and as a result, the DPO, Mrs. Damisa, and the adopting couple, were invited to Police Headquarters, Abuja, and eventually the baby was handed over to its mother, and her family.”

Jennifer also told Daily Trust Saturday that she was given N100,000 by Mrs. Damisa “to take care of herself”, out of what she believed was collected from the couple, believed to be about N500,000, as “expenses” supposedly demanded by a child rights organization Mrs. Damisa claims to be working with.

Police Area Commander in New Nyanya confirmed the incident, but added that everything related to the issue has been taken to the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

Responding, Force PPRO, DCP Frank Mba, said he could only speak on the matter if our reporter could come along with the members Jennifer’s family.


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