|Nigeria Police Force|
Recently, you alerted the police that your husband sold your two-year-old son, Elisha. How did you get to know?
It all happened on Monday, July 24. I was lying down on the bed in our apartment when the father of my children came into the house and woke me up. He immediately requested that I go to my mother’s place at Eta-Agbor Road in Calabar but I told him that I did not have transport fare and that I was also hungry. He went out and came back with N50 which he probably borrowed from someone. He told me to use it as transport fare to my mother’s place. I preferred to use the money to buy garri because I was very hungry. He said he wanted me go to my mother’s place because he was travelling to Akwa Ibom State. I asked if he was coming back that day and he said yes. At that point, our two-year-old boy, Elisha, was within the compound. I had asked Elisha not to go outside because, just like me, he was hungry. After our discussion, I went to take my bath.
When did you notice that your son was no longer in the compound?
I initially did not know his father had taken the boy outside the compound. It was another little child in the compound that told me that Elijah’s father asked him to go outside the compound to play. The boy said that Elisha ran outside and had not returned. Then, I became curious and started shouting Elisha’s name around and outside the compound. My husband’s brother, living in the compound, asked what the problem was and I said I had not seen Elisha. Other tenants too asked the same question and I responded the same way.
Did you ask him before he left the house where he was going to in Akwa Ibom State?
He did not tell me exactly where he was going to in Akwa Ibom State. He only told me he was going to look for work there. But when I searched around and could not find Elisha, I immediately called him, asking if Elisha was with him. He said no. In fact, he said Elisha was playing outside the compound when he left the house. I told him that his brother had been outside and that we didn’t see Elisha. We immediately began the search for Elisha in neighbouring streets but we didn’t see him. The brother and I went as far as St. Bernard’s School in Calabar-South where he (husband) always sat with friends to drink, but the people around said they did not see him. I screamed on the phone while talking with Elijah’s father about the boy’s whereabouts. For the second time, he denied. Even his brother also called him. The brother’s wife called him but he continued denying. I shouted, cried and ran all the way to my mother’s place to report the matter to her. My mother pleaded with me not to cry. She said that maybe he didn’t want me to bring the child to her place. My mother assured me that he would bring the child back, although I did not believe.
Why didn’t you believe her?
My inner mind kept revealing to me that the man went to sell the child. My mother warned me not to say that again. That Monday night, at about 7pm, I called him again after borrowing N100 from somebody to recharge my phone. I told him I still had not seen my child. He shouted on me on the phone, saying I was speaking nonsense. He kept denying my accusation.
Did he return from Akwa Ibom State that day?
No, he did not. On Tuesday, around 6am, I woke up, took my bath and called him again. He said he was on his way back to Calabar. I called him again and he told me that he was on his way and that he didn’t understand what I was talking about. I kept crying until one of our neighbours, Ekaete, advised that I get something like an empty container that I could hit with stick to announce that my child was missing. She said I should announce that if anybody saw the child, he or she should take him to the police station. But I told her that I don’t have any money to give to the police. However, after she persisted, I took my second son, who is two months old, with me and strapped him on my back. I went to Uwanse Police Station to report that my child was missing. At the end of the day, I exchanged numbers with the policewoman who asked me to go but advised that I alert them when I see him. They assured me that if I didn’t have money to come; they would come and arrest the father of my children. That Tuesday, I called him. I lied to him that my small child and I (the younger one who is less than two months), were hungry and there was nothing for us to eat. He told me he was coming and switched off his phone. Later that Tuesday at about 5pm, he switched on the phone again. I asked why he switched off his phone. I asked why he didn’t want to tell me the whereabouts of my child and he said I was talking nonsense that he didn’t carry my child. I ended the call and started crying. People came around and asked me to keep quiet. I told them that the small child could not have crossed the gutter close to the house to go anywhere to play.
How did you eventually know that he took the child away?
It was when he came back from Akwa Ibom that the police trailed and arrested him. I was devastated when I got to know that he sold Elisha. I still hope to see my son.
What was he doing before the incident?
He was a mason. I was working with somebody as a house help and making pop corn for another person.
What can you say about his character?
He drank a lot and when he returned home, he quarrelled with me. Sometimes, he beat me up. He once beat me with a machete. Sometime last year, when my mother visited us, he pursued her with machete and my mother ran away. She left the house and since that time, she never came back to visit us again.
How did you meet him?
I met him at Akpabuyo LGA of Cross River State in 2014 but I cannot remember the month now. I went to Akpabuyo to see my aunty and on my way back, we met inside the taxi that I boarded. He said he wanted to marry me. After a week, he called my number and said I should come and visit him where he stayed.
When I got there, he took me to his former compound where he was living before he packed to No. 8, Amika Utuk Lane in Calabar-South. It was there that I became pregnant for him. I stayed with him until I was delivered of the boy (Elisha) on July 4, 2015.
Are you legally married to him?
He never paid my bride price and my mother had always quarrelled with me on that. She asked me to leave the man’s house because she doesn’t like him. But I told my mother that I loved him.
Was he married before you moved in with him?
I did not know that he was married. It was after I delivered Elisha that his wife came to the house because she was staying in Uyo. When she came, she started quarrelling with him and asked if he was not ashamed of getting married to a small girl (me) who could be his child. She asked him who would take care of her four children that he left for her. The woman threatened that there would be trouble if he did not send money to her to take care of the children in Akwa Ibom State. Since that time, the man has been sending money to her. The second child from the woman later came to live with us. But after this incident, the mother came and took the child away, obviously out of fear that her child could be sold like mine.
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