The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a 19-year-old woman, Ayomide Adebayo, for allegedly dumping her two-month-old baby in a bush in the Ikorodu area of the state.
Newsmen gathered that Adebayo, a secondary school leaver, was allegedly impregnated by one Martins Tewogbade, who lives in the Bariga area of the state.
She gave birth on April 30 at a private hospital in the neighbourhood.
However, Tewogbade’s parents reportedly rejected the baby and she subsequently relocated with the child to a friend’s house in Igbode, Ogun State.
Our correspondent was told that Adebayo approached a worker at a Cherubim and Seraphim Church in the town sometime in May 2017 and begged the woman to take custody of the child.
The baby was in the care of the church worker, identified as Mrs. Joke Fatai, until Saturday, June 10, when Adebayo went to withdraw her.
She was said to have tied the baby’s mouth and nose, dumped her in the bush and returned to Bariga, telling people that the child was dead.
It was learnt that the baby was found by some members of a vigilance group in the early hours of Sunday in a bush in Ikorodu, Lagos State, and was later reunited with Fatai.
The babysitter and residents of Igode eventually traced Adebayo to Bariga.
A resident of Bariga, Yusuf Tolagbe, said an angry crowd wanted to beat up the mother, but for the intervention of a child rights organisation in the area, Child Protection Network.
He said, “Ayomide’s (Adebayo) mother died shortly after giving birth to her. Her father’s whereabouts is unknown. She was living with an elderly man. She has finished her secondary school education.
“Last year, the man observed that she was pregnant. After prodding her, she said it was Martins (Tewogbade), an apprentice, that impregnated her. But the boy’s parent did not accept the pregnancy, claiming that it belonged to a taxi driver, who they usually saw her with.
“She left the community after she gave birth in April and came back on Sunday, telling people that the baby was dead. It was when the woman (Fatai) and some people came on Monday with the baby that we discovered she was lying.”
The Coordinator, Child Protection Network, Mr. Toyin Okanlawon, said the case was reported to the police at the Bariga division, adding that the mother and Tewogbade had been transferred to the Gender Unit of the Lagos State Police Command’s Headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos.
He said, “The babysitter explained that she saw the mother back the baby carelessly and corrected her. She later came to meet the woman to help her take care of the baby. The woman took care of the baby and Ayomide till June 10 when she carried the baby to the bush in Ikorodu. She tied her mouth and nose in an attempt to kill her, but the vigilantes saw the baby in the bush at night and rescued her.
“The boy did not deny to the police that he impregnated the girl. Presently, both of them are at the police command. The baby has been handed over to Martin’s mother for care.”
The spokesperson for the command, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the police would work with the state government to ensure the safe custody of the baby, while Adebayo and Tewogbola were under investigations.
He said, “For now, we cannot confirm that she attempted to kill the baby. She said she just dropped her in the bush. It is possible she wanted to abandon her and run away. We are still investigating and a test has to be conducted to determine her mental state.
“We will look for a guardian who can take care of the child. It may be a close relative or an institution made available by the state. The boy is also under investigation.”