InvestigationNewsSpecial Report

‘I took my daughter to Kaduna children home for safe-keeping, now I’m told she’s dead’

  • Suspect arraigned over alleged trafficking and sale of a child
  • I’ll go to any length to ensure justice is done, Jamilu insists

Jamilu Yahaya, a young man in Kaduna, thought he was showing love to his daughter, who was birthed out of wedlock, when he decided to take her to the Social Welfare Office in the state for “safe keeping”. “Now”, he told Dateline Nigeria, “I am regretting my action.”

In a petition he addressed to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Jamilu, popularly known as J-Boy, said “On the 28th March 2021, I brought my one-month old baby named Khadijah Jamilu, who was born out of wedlock to the Ministry [of Human Services and Social Development Kaduna State] for safe keeping through a Social Welfare Officer Malam Salisu Usman.”

He however said in the petition against the Commissioner, Ministry of Human Services and Social Development that all efforts to collect “my baby back” failed to yield any positive result, adding that no reason was given to him.

Continuing, he said, “The last time I was allowed to see my baby was before this year’s Ramadan. On the 25th May, 2022, I visited my daughter in the orphanage with some stuff, unfortunately the orphanage in charge told me that my baby was dead for the past two weeks.”

J-Boy said he disagreed because he was not contacted to either see the corpse of his baby or witness her internment “despite the fact that they have my contact address and G.S.M Number. They also have my family’s contact but none of us was aware of the situation until when I visited the ministry.”

‘Why I took my baby to Welfare Office’

“I actually took the baby to the Welfare Office because the mother was not showing care. She will abandon the little baby and disappear at the slightest chance, and she will not return until much later. The baby often cried itself to sleep. So I decided to take her for safe-keeping,” he said.

“And when I took her to the Welfare Office, I used to go there time to time, sometimes two weeks interval. They will bring the baby for us to see, but after sometime, they stopped bringing her out to me as the father. I tried to get back my baby girl but they kept postponing the date. The next thing was the purported news of my baby daughter’s death.

“It was one Mercy Madaki that told me about the death of my daughter and I asked her. ‘Mercy, you said my daughter is dead for the past two weeks. What can you present to me as evidence? The ministry did not present my baby’s corpse to me. The God I serve will not let that go free. God knows I love my daughter,” J-Boy said

He said he wanted to take the little girl to his parents since “they understood the circumstance leading to her birth and were willing to keep her.” He also promised to go to any length to get justice.

Mother insists baby must be returned

Meanwhile, J-Boy’s former girlfriend and mother of the baby in insisting that her daughter must be produced, even as she blamed him for the uncertainty she’s now forced to bear about her daughter. “I learnt that she has seized J-Boy’s credentials insisting that he must produce her baby before she would give the documents back to him.

“Many had advised her to abort the pregnancy at its earliest stage, but she refused saying that they would want to have the baby. But were always quarelling. The Welfare Office, may be, refused to return the baby to them because of this frequent fighting between them. May be they also thought the two were looking for a way to dispose of the baby since she was birthed out of wedlock. But one thing that was clear to people was that both of them were happy to have the baby, so it is hurtful for them to not see their daughter again,” a neighbour who wants to remain anonymous said.

Bevy of allegations

Dateline Nigeria learnt that there are allegations of babies unaccounted for at the Social Welfare Office in Kaduna. Sources said there was the story of a mentally unstable woman who was found with two small children, one of them newly born in Unguwan Boro, Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna metropolis.

“The woman was taken to the Psychiatric Hospital for treatment, while the kids were kept in custody of the Welfare Office.

“There was also a woman who was kicked out of her matrimonial home by her husband because she kept giving birth to baby girls. So after her third child he sent her packing. In a twist of fate, she however conceived and gave birth to a baby boy out of wedlock. When she reported her pregnancy to the Social Welfare Office, she was assisted to give birth in a hospital. That was the last she saw of her son, a source said.

Both the Kaduna State Commissioner of Human Services and Social Development Hafsat Mohammed Baba and the Director of Social Welfare could not be reached for comment. Also, the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command Mohammed Jalige did not respond to our reporters enquiry.

Suspect arraigned over trafficking, sale of child

Dateline Nigeria reports that Mercy Madaki, 36, who has been accused by Jamilu of being responsible for his missing daughter, was recently arraigned before a Chief Magistrate’s Court over alleged trafficking and sale of a child.

Mercy is being prosecuted by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Kaduna, but the case, as our correspondent gathered, has nothing to do with Jamilu’s matter.

According to the First Information Report (FIR) seen by Dateline Nigeria, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development had on August 7, 2022 written the NSCDC requesting an investigation into an alleged case of child trafficking against Mercy Madaki, the suspect and the head of Magajin Gari Orphanage.

Civil servant arraigned over trafficking, sale of child in Kaduna
Magajin Gari Orphanage

“Investigation revealed that sometime in the month of March 2021, the Kaduna State Honourable Commissioner of Human Services and Social Development Hajiya Hafsat Mohammed Baba handed one Humaira, female of about a year old (at the time of her missing) to the suspect, to take charge and care of the child as one of the orphans at the orphanage. 

“Sometime in the month of March 2022, some nannies at the orphanage saw/witnessed the suspect directing one Zulai Yakubu, the nanny in charge of Humaira, to hand over the child to an unknown woman. 

“Later on the same day, the suspect ordered all the staff on duty to tell anybody that enquire about Humaira that she is dead. The suspect, subsequently, verbally reported to Ministry of Human Services and Social Development that Humaira is dead and has been buried accordingly, without any evidence to prove her death or the place she was buried.

“The action of the suspect is contrary to and punishable under section 256 of Kadun State Penal Code Law 2017 and Section 30 of Kaduna State Child Welfare and Protection Law 2018 respectively,” the FIR read.

During her arraignment before the Magistrate’s Court 9 in Daura Road, Kaduna, Mercy was admitted on bail to two sureties on ₦800,000 bail bond. Both sureties must be resident of Kaduna, with proof of landed property within Kaduna state. The court case has been adjourned to January 30, 2023.

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