DNA shows petitioner not biological mother of trafficked child, pathologist tells NHRC panel 

A consultant pathologist with Asokoro District Hospital, Abuja, Dr Kelvin Nwabueze Ezike, on Tuesday told the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) independent investigative panel on violations by the defunct SARS and other police units that the DNA test to ascertain the biological mother of an unknown child in dispute showed that a petitioner before it laying claim to the child was not the biological mother.
The petitioner, Esther Tanko, had petitioned the panel, alleging abduction and enforced disappearance of her three-year-old son Elijah Tanko, in the petition marked 2020/IIP-SARS/ABJ/66.
Joined as respondents are the investigation police officer (IPO), Desmond Abela; defunct SARS FCT; FCT Commissioner of Police and the Inspector-General of Police.
The petitioner had on November 17, 2020, told the panel that she wanted her son back, adding that the police had denied her having the child back.
Testifying before the panel today, after being summoned to come and give the results of the DNA tests he conducted, Dr Ezike informed that he was contacted by Commander, IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT), DCP Abba Kyari, to conduct DNA tests for a child they recovered from alleged child traffickers being claimed by a number of women.
According to him, there three women initially claim ownership of the child – another also joined them. He added that he contacted “the then functional Lagos State DNA and Forensics Centre in Lagos.
“They sent the materials for the investigation and on 20th July 2020, the child and the first three women with their witnesses were brought to our unit at Asokoro District Hospital where we collected samples, sealed and sent them via FedEx Courier Services to the DNA and Forensics Centre in Lagos.
“While this was going on, the fourth woman showed up and also claimed to be the mother. By the time, the IRT contacted me, I told them that I just received the results of the initial investigation and that from the results we have received, we have made a match,” Dr Ezike told the panel.
He added that the IRT told him that in the interest of fairness, he should conduct the test for the fourth woman, informing that the woman and the child’s samples were then collected and sent to Lagos.
“While we were waiting for the result of her own test, the #EndSARS demonstration started. During the course of the demonstration, the Lagos DNA Centre was vandalised and completely destroyed. Part of the materials destroyed was the sample of this woman,” he informed.
The pathologist told the panel that he contacted the DNA Diagnostic Centre, Fairfield, Ohio, USA, for the continuation of the fourth woman’s test, adding that the centre referred them to its Nigerian centre in Lagos, Arrive Alive Diagnostic Centre.
According to him, the arrangement was made to have the woman, who was residing in Lagos to have her sample taken at the centre in Lagos while the child’s sample was taken in Abuja and sent to Lagos.
He informed that the fourth woman’s test result had since been released.
Summarising the DNA results of the four women laying claims to the child, Dr Ezike informed that the petitioner, Esther Tanko, was not the biological mother.
He informed from the results, Dikeocha Rosemary, from Enugu, was the biological mother of the unknown child, adding that the two other women, Ike Ifeyinwa Vera and Jamiu Munirat of were not the biological mothers also.
Under cross-examination by the counsel for the police, Umoh Inah, the pathologist told the panel that he expected that the police would match the DNA test results with their own findings.
He said the integrity of the test was at 99.9 per cent, declaring that, “the chances of getting another perfect match is next to zero.”
He further revealed that after the tests had been conducted, a fifth woman surfaced to claim the child, adding that he advised the police to declare to all that they had made a match.
Ezike told the panel that “as a doctor, conducting a test on another claimant feels like a fraud,” adding that any aggrieved person could go to the courts.”
He, however, said if asked to conduct a paternity test, his hospital would do so.
Following his testimony, the chairman of the investigative panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd), adjourned the petition till April 7 for the adoption of parties’ written addresses.

 

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