(The Nation) – A Liberian, Daniel Barnney, is being held by the police for allegedly selling his nine-month-old son Emmanuel to a 43-year-old woman, Ekah Richard, for N250,000. Or US$1,300.
According to the Nation Newspaper, Barnney, one Pastor Samuel Osavitu and a worker at an orphanage, Alhaji Sunkanmi Adamu, are being quizzed at Festac Police Station over the matter.
Barnney’s Nigerian wife Ijeoma Ndoku raised the alarm over his plan to sell their son and flee to Ghana last month.
The police arrested Barnney at Mile 2 on February 12 and recovered the baby from Richard.
Ndoku said she and Barnney have been quarrelling because she did not allow him to take the baby to his aunt, who she never saw.
She debunked Barnney’s claims of abandoning the child, accusing him of fleeing with the boy on their way to buy groceries.
“It’s a lie! I didn’t abandon my baby. He said he wanted to hand the baby over to his aunt. I said it was okay since his aunt was now in Nigeria. I said it will give me opportunity to look for a job and support the family because he has not been taking care of us.
“For over three months, he has been saying he does not have money to take care of me and my baby but he usually had money to buy drinks and cigarettes. He could not even bring out N150 for me to buy pampers for our baby. Even when I wanted to take the baby to the hospital, I usually went and borrowed money; other times, our neighbours will give me money to cater for the baby.
“He used to get drunk and vomit. When I complained, he would bring out iron rod and hit it on my head. I fell down once, tried to go and open the door, but he dragged me back.
“I didn’t know his plan was to sell our baby. I said I wanted to see his aunt. He said if the aunt knows that I am around, she wouldn’t collect the baby. He asked me if I wanted the baby to die, I said no”, she said.
Ndoku said she learnt of Barnney’s plan to sell their son from his boss.
“She (the boss) told me that Daniel was planning to sell my son for N150,000. She said that Daniel said after selling the baby, he would leave for Ghana. I didn’t believe her.
“The woman said I should come back around 4pm, so that I would hear the story from some of her assistants. I told Daniel’s friend. He doubted the story too, so he followed me.
“It was in his presence that the woman told us everything. She said she became curious and concerned after she noticed Daniel was always with the baby. When she asked, Daniel told her that I abandoned the baby and ran away. She asked for my number, so that she could speak to me, but Daniel refused. That was when she knew Daniel was lying.
“I told her that Daniel told me that the baby was with his aunt. She said that was part of the reason she withheld his salary,” Ndoku said.
Ndoku said on January 29, Barnney called that he was coming to see his son, adding that when he came, their neighbours were happy and advised her to forgive him.
To effect his plan to take away the baby, she said he tricked her that they were going to buy him things.
She said when she alighted from the motorcycle (Okada) that they took to enter a store, Barnney disappeared with the baby.
Barnney, 32, who admitted to have received N250,000 from Richard through Adamu, said the money was given to him to start a business.
He denied selling the baby, claiming that his wife abandoned the child. He said since he could not cater for the boy alone, he took him to an orphanage.
Richard, who claimed that she adopted the child, said she never knew the adoption process was illegal. She said she was advised by the pastor to adopt a child so that God can open her womb.
But Osavitu, who denied conspiring with others to steal the baby, said he was only trying to help Richard and safe the child’s life.
He said: “I have known the orphanage guy for almost nine years. He’s a good man. He’s the manager at the orphanage. I used to go to the orphanage to preach there.”