The Ondo State Police Command on Saturday said detectives from the command are still on the trail of the parents of a four-year-old girl who was allegedly beaten to death in Akure, the state capital.
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr. Femi Joseph who disclosed this to Tribune Online assured that the parents of the girl would be apprehended.
According to him, the father claimed that the girl identified as Miss Testimony Toke Babalola had been over-pampered by her grandmother who she was residing within Ikare and he had to withdraw her from the old woman’s care.
Efforts to trace the parents of the late Testimony were not successful as the parents took to their heels immediately she was pronounced dead.
It was, however, gathered that the parents of the girl were about to be arrested by police in Ikare Akoko but the operatives were prevented by the people of the community.
According to a source, the people of the community prevented the security agents from arresting the couple. The residents nearly lynch the police officers in the process.
He said it took the intervention of the community leaders who intervened in the matter and promised to hand over the couple to police in Akure on Monday.
The source said “the residents of the community would not allow the police to arrest the suspects. The policemen actually came to the community, they saw and arrested the suspects but the residents of the area trooped out to stop the police from arresting them.
“It almost led to a clash between the police and the residents of the area. It took the intervention of a traditional ruler in the community before the matter was resolved. The traditional ruler promised to bring the suspects to the police station next week.”
It will be recalled that the mother of the girl rushed her daughter to Ondo State University Teaching Hospital, Akure Annex for treatment on Wednesday night where she was pronounced dead following the alleged torture by her parents.
When contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Undie Adie neither confirmed nor denied the development but expressed assurance that the suspects would be arrested.
“If you want to make an arrest, you have to be professional otherwise you will generate another crisis, sometimes you even miss your target but I assure in the next few days we will arrest them,” the Police commissioner said.
However, the leadership of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, (NAWOJ), Ondo State, at the weekend alleged that the girl identified as Miss Testimony Toke Babalola, was allegedly tortured to death by her parents in a bid to cast out a demon in the young girl.
The NAWOJ led by its Chairperson, Mrs Doris Olumoko, visited the white garment church the parents of the late Testimony attend and discovered that the young girl had been going through series of torture before she died last Wednesday.
Also confirming the ill-treatment meted on the girl, the Parish Priest of Mary Queen of Angels Catholic church Akure, Reverend Father Mathew Ologun, said that he got to know about development some two months ago through the church children’s caregiver, who noticed so many scars all over late Testimony body.
He said the father of the girl, one Mr. Felix Babalola, who attends one white garment church, along Adesida road was invited but he claimed that the girl was possessed with evil spirit and was under deliverance. He said the marks on girl’s body were as a result of the deliverance.