A nurse masquerading as a medical doctor is at the centre of a child theft case that is kicking up a huge storm in Abaranje, a Lagos community, writes COMFORT OSEGHALE
Adekunle Haastrup Street, off Igando Road, Ikotun, Lagos, used to host Mat-Bel, which was once a thriving clinic.
Before Mat-Bel was shut last month by officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the clinic had been in existence for over a decade.
But this was until it was discovered that Mat-Bel’s acclaimed chief physician – a man known simply as Dr. Longe – was not a registered doctor, but was in reality a nurse.
Before this discovery, Longe had two years ago allegedly be sent to the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons after a caesarean operation that went awry.
According to residents of Adekunle Haastrup that are familiar with the operations of the hospital, a pregnant lady in labour had allegedly shown up at his clinic.
A resident who craved anonymity said, “About two years ago, a pregnant lady showed up at Mat-Bel Clinic; she was in labour.
“Before that day, she had never shown up for any ante-natal clinic. Longe took her in, but as the labour became more difficult, he decided to deliver the baby by caesarean section. Unfortunately, it wasn’t successful. The woman died.
“Later in the day, the patient’s husband came to the clinic; he was not at home when his wife had gone into labour.
“When he was told that his wife was dead, the man got angry, blamed Longe and went to the police station to report.
“Longe was arrested by the police and was taken to Kirikiri. Possibly, he came out on bail because we saw him later at the clinic.”
According to residents, there had been previous deaths resulting from child birth at Mat-Bel.
During a visit to the facility this week, the clinic, which occupied the back flat of an uncompleted two-wing duplex, was quiet.
On the entrance door was an eviction notice, which had been served – and pasted – by Longe’s landlord. Another notice from the state’s ministry of health was pasted. This announced the sealing of the place and banned Longe from further practising his profession.
However, it wasn’t any death in recent times that exposed Longe for what he was. Rather, it was the theft and sale of a five-month-old baby of a former patient of Mat-Bel – Mrs. Femi Akintunde – that was the last straw, which broke the proverbial camel’s back.
CRIME DIGEST investigations showed that five months earlier, Akintunde and a certain Patience Egebor had met at Mat-Bel Clinic.
Both were delivered of their babies and struck up a friendship. Even after both women left the clinic, the friendship continued until Egebor decided to steal Akintunde’s baby – Michael – and sell him off.
Longe, who had delivered Michael, was allegedly the contact man between Egebor and the intended buyer of the baby.
A neighbour said, “Sometimes last month, Egebor came to visit Akintunde at home. Akintunde was cooking at the time in the kitchen, while the baby was asleep in the family’s one-room apartment. The baby was five months old at the time.
“Egebor seized the opportunity and took the baby away. When Akintunde started wailing moments later that she couldn’t find her child, everyone was shocked.
“Luckily, a resident had seen Egebor taking away the child. When Akintunde was told this, she rushed to Egebor’s home at Aso Rock Bus Stop, Ikotun. But to her shock, her baby was not there and Egebor herself denied taking him. It was at this point Akintunde called her husband, who was not at home.”
Already, the Abaranje community, where the Akintundes live, was agog with the news of the missing child.
On his return home, Akintunde’s husband – Kayode – was said to have made a report at the Ikotun Police Division and Egebor was immediately arrested.
CRIME DIGEST gathered that upon interrogation, Egebor confessed to everyone’s surprise that she had given the baby to Longe, who had contacted a buyer.
The buyer had allegedly flown in from Abuja to take custody of the child.
“When the police invited Longe for questioning, he claimed that he had no idea that the baby belonged to Akintunde,” a resident explained. “He allegedly claimed that Egebor had told him that she could no longer care for her baby, being a single mother and wanted to give him away to someone who is in need of a child.
“It was Longe who contacted a woman in Abuja to buy the child for N300,000. Before the case got to the police, the woman was already on her way back to Abuja.
“Longe had to call her to return the child after explaining the situation to her. The woman actually showed up a few days later with the child and everything she had bought for the baby. That was how Akintunde got her baby back,” a resident said.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer Ngozi Braide – a Deputy Superintendent of Police – told CRIME DIGEST that police investigations showed that Longe was a nurse and not a qualified doctor.
She said, “After the matter was reported at the Ikotun Police Division, Longe was arrested by the police and the case was later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department at Panti (Yaba).
“It was discovered during investigation that Longe was not a qualified doctor, but in reality was a nurse. He has been arraigned in court with his accomplice and is out on bail.”
Longe however denied his involvement in the child theft via a telephone call.
“I’ve nothing to do with the theft and sale of that baby,” Longe said. “Even if you bring the child to me today, I will not recognise the child.
“It will be better for you to meet with me in person so we can discuss this. Maybe then when we see, you will be able to determine for yourself if indeed I’m capable of selling someone’s child.”
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