Fear has crept into the hearts of traders in the Badagry roundabout market in Lagos following the abduction of a two-month-old baby, Kudus Adebowale, by a customer.
The baby’s mother, Mrs. Alimat Adebowale, according to reports sells biscuits in the market, while the suspected kidnapper was identified simply as T-girl.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspect, is a well known person to most of the traders in the market as she had lived in the community for over four years up until a few months ago when she traveled.
The said T-girl upon return to the neighbourhood last week Thursday, went to the market around 9.pm, where she was treated to a warm reception.
Reports gathered revealed that she approached Alimat, who was breastfeeding her baby, Kudus, and took the child pretending all she wanted to do was play with him. T-girl, was said to have strapped baby Kudus to her back afterwards and sat on a chair behind his mother, who was busy attending to customers.
“Nobody knew when she (T-girl) disappeared from the market with the baby. The mother had looked back to check on Kudus, when she discovered that she had left the market with her child. We called her number, but she didn’t pick our calls. That was when it occurred to us that she had stolen the baby.
“I don’t really blame Iya Kudus. She thought the child was in a safe hand because almost everybody here knows T-girl. She would come to buy things here and play with us. She is from Ibadan (Oyo State) and had lived here for more than four years before she travelled some months ago. She came back last week,” a woman, Kemi Agboola, who sells bread and drinks in the market, said.
A resident, Kayode Paul, who spoke to reporters said the incident was reported at the Badagry Police Station.
He added that the police arrested T-girl in Ibadan after some passengers with whom she boarded a bus en route to the Oyo State capital raised the alarm.
He said, “It was said the bus had a minor accident on the way to Ibadan and the driver had to wait for some moments. As they were waiting, Kudus started crying and the passengers urged her to breastfeed him. She refused.
“As the baby’s cries increased, they compelled her to breastfeed him and she reluctantly agreed. But the baby did not suck her breasts, which made the passengers to be suspicious. After threatening to beat her up, she said she was taking the baby to her mother in Ibadan.”
Upon raising the alarm, the passengers immediately ttook her to the Yemetu Police Station in Ibadan, where she eventually confessed to have stolen the baby in Badagry.
“The police in Ibadan contacted the Badagry division and the mother and her husband travelled there to recover their child. He is two months old,” Paul added.
Alimat, who also spoke with Punch correspondent on the telephone on Saturday, said she had been reunited with her baby. She stated that she had initially declined to give Kudus to T-girl.
She said, “People were playing with my baby that day when she said I should also allow her to take him, but I refused. She asked if she had offended me and pleaded that I should let her carry him. I suddenly discovered that I didn’t see her again and people joined me to search for her to no avail.
“My child was two months old that day. The woman used to come here to buy drinks and play with us. I am now with my baby. We will return to Lagos on Monday (today).”
The police in Ibadan said the suspect gave her real name as Yetunde Awosanya, and identified herself as Alimat’s friend.
“She said she traveled with the baby with the consent of his mother. But after interrogation, it turned out that she was lying. The case will be transferred to Lagos,” the police source said.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the story and recovery of the child, adding that the suspect would be transferred to the command for further investigations.
“Investigation is still on and the Commissioner of Police has directed that the case be charged to court at the conclusion of investigation,” she added.