Mon. Aug 15th, 2022

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria(HURIWA), on Monday, faulted the Lagos State Police Command over its stance on a 10-month-old baby caught with a dispatch rider, Williams Tadule, in the Sangotedo area of the state.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, alleged that the police is trying to cover-up the suspected abduction of the lad to give an untrue impression that Lagos is safe whereas it is not.

A video had gone viral last week with a mob descending on Tadule for hiding the baby in question in his delivery box but the police on Monday said the dispatch rider got the consent of the baby’s mother, Lovina Biturs, to take her 10-month-old baby away.

According to the police, Tadule and Bitrus were neighbours and the baby was fond of the rider.

“To pacify the baby, his mother allowed him go with the rider,” said police spokesman in Lagos, Adekunle Ajisebutu, noting that the baby caught with the rider was not stolen.

But HURIWA faulted the police, stating that the narration defied logic.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The Lagos State Police Command must go back to their scriptwriters because the script released justifying the dispatch rider’s custody of the baby looks like a Nollywood movie.

“The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, must answer the following questions:

“Who on earth will keep a 10-month-old baby in a courier box without access to air except a criminal and kidnapper?

“With the delicate and the exposed manner of motorbikes, who on earth will allow a 10-month-old baby go on a bike with a neighbour just to pacify him save an accomplice?

“There is more than meets the eye in this case. The police must quit attempt at repackaging and explaining away crimes. The police must stop its attempt at image laundering to protect its failures to secure lives and property in Lagos and all over the country.

“Recall that a Bus Rapid Transit passenger, Oluwabamise Ayanwole, was recently brutally murdered by her abductors who later dumped dismembered her body on the Carter Bridge by Ogogoro Communityin Lagos.

“Also, masked gunmen kidnapped Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith (retd.), in the Ajah area of Lagos in September 2021 but later released him after ransom was paid.

“The Lagos police must realise its failures as the security situation in Lagos further worsens and rise up to launch a renewed war against the criminals rather than explaining away crimes.”

HURIWA further called on the Federal Government to enforce stringent legal frameworks and sanctions against crimes targeting kids such as baby’s factory, kidnappings, sexual molestation of children, murders, etc.

Recall that five-year-old pupil, Hanifa Abubakar, was recently mutilated and killed by her Kano State-based school proprietor, Abdulmalik Tanko, who was supposed to protect her.

From Kankara in Katsina State to Kagara in Niger State, Chibok in Borno State, Dapchi in Yobe State, amongst others, school children have been abducted in hundreds by marauders, married off by the bandits, and some killed. The pathetic case of Leah Sharibu is still fresh in mind.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The crimes against children and the vulnerable in the country is becoming alarming and unacceptable. The Federal Government must act fast, change the name of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to MINISTRY OF BABIES AND FAMILY AFFAIRS.

“FG must also charge the National Assembly and the 36 states assemblies to make stringent punishments for those who commit crimes against children. Recall that due to these rising crimes against children, the United Nations Children’s Fund classified Nigeria along with Somalia, Congo, Cameroon, and Niger based on countries with the highest cases of verified abductions in 2021.

“Practical measures must be taken to tackle headlong these crimes. The need for police to have a national data bank of persons caught in these types of crimes against children is non-negotiable. Repeated offenders should get life imprisonment.”

March 14, 2022

Emmanuel Onwubiko

National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA)

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