A nursing mother in Imo State has given a moving account of how her four-month-old baby was snatched from her hand in her house by unknown gunmen suspected to be baby thieves.
Narrating how the incident happened in her house at Umuerim Umuoke, in Atta community, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, Mrs. Basilia Nwagu, said she returned home from Ondo State to farm in her husband’s farm in the village and lost her four-month old baby girl.
“I returned home here from Ore , Ondo State to farm since two months ago with my new-born baby. On Saturday April 11, 2014 at about 8 pm, I was here (in the veranda) slicing the cassava I got from the farm earlier that day when three boys came on one motorcycle. I laid my daughter beside me here. They bought the groundnut I was selling here and entered their bike and rode down to Omuma Road .
“They came back again, riding towards Afor Atta and returned back again. They parked at the road in front of our house. Two of them came down and walked towards me while the other one stayed on the motorcycle. One of the two young men shot two times in the air and the other came into the veranda and went straight to where I laid my daughter and grabbed her and made to move.
“I held him tight and asked him why he was doing that. The one with gun told me he would shoot me dead if I don’t let go of the baby, but I held him. It was then the other one kicked and brushed me from behind and I fell.
”Before I could recover from the fall, they entered the waiting motorcycle and sped down the Omuma road. I started shouting, calling on the neighbours to come to my rescue. But because of the sound of the gun shots, only few could come out and before they did, my daughter had been taken away by people I don’t know. One of our brothers who is a vigilante member contacted his fellow security men and went in search of her but could not locate them.
“The next day, Sunday, my husband returned from Ore , Ondo State and the matter was incidented in the police. Since that day, we have been running around looking for any trace that will lead us to the recovery of my daughter.
“The incident happened like a movie. I can’t still believe that my daughter is missing or is dead. It is unbelievable that I returned all the way from Ondo State only to see my baby snatched from my house before me in my own village. I’ve been praying to God to save my baby from the hands of ritualists. I’ve been crying, yet I can’t cry. I’ve become weak and don’t know what to do in this situation”.
Mrs. Nwagu said she had been hearing about child theft in Imo State and never believed it was real, and appealed to the state government and the police to help recover her daughter alive, as according to her, “I’ll die without her”.