Anthony Achonye, 75, father of Mrs Precious Donatus Ogbonna who earlier spoke with Saturday Vanguard when our correspondent visited Owerri said he knows his daughter and she has given him 7 grandchildren.
The septuagenariand father of Precious Donatus Ogbonna told Saturday Vanguard that he has three children, all girls and Precious was his first daughter. He operates a kiosk in the church premises founded by his daughter.
But Pa Achonye refused to comment on his daughter’s detention when contacted on phone after Precious’ arrest. He said he was not unaware of the arrest but was on a sick bed in Nwangele Amiegbo, his village receiving treatment. “I have been told of her arrest but I cannot tell you anything now, I am on a sick bed in my village and until I get back to Owerri, I can’t say anything now.”
Earlier in a chat with Saturday Vanguard at his kiosk located in front of her daughter’s church, , the former mason said: “Precious is the eldest of my three daughters and I know her very well. She is the mother of the seven babies. That is the miracle God has done to me.”
Saturday Vanguard also learnt that the issue of where she delivered the babies has not been resolved with the police, an indication that she may not be released soon.
The police have no right to detain her
Saturday Vanguard also spoke with human rights lawyers on the development and they opine it is wrong to keep her for longer than 24hours without charging her to court as that would mean infringing on her fundamental human rights.
Arresting her now is the laziest approach — Barrister Bamidele Aturu
My position is that there is no place for a miracle in law. If somebody comes with a story that confounds medical evidence and common sense, yes, it is important for the police to investigate. It will be unwise and irresponsible of the police to know of this information and refuse to investigate it.
Now, investigating does not necessarily mean to arrest. That is where our police always get things wrong in Nigeria and I have told them several times. The problem with our police is intelligence. You can invite the woman for questioning, carry out investigation, in fact be on her trail without her knowing.
We have so many men and women in the force that can be used to do a check or surveillance on her premises without her knowledge so that she cannot escape . That way, when you now have evidence that she actually stole those babies, you can then go after her and prosecute her immediately.
Then once you charge her to court after 24hours of arrest, she wouldn’t have committed any offence but keeping her or arresting her because you don’t want her to escape is the laziest approach to matter of this nature.
So, I would say, the police are not wrong to be investigating her, the only problem with the police is that they ought not to have arrested her, or they could have arrested her and immediately brought a charge against her and that would have answered the constitutional provisions that says that you cannot detain a person beyond 24hours before you charge that person to court. I think the police are used to doing things in an authoritarian way and I do not agree that the police should not investigate.
If at the end of the investigation, the DNA confirms that she is the mother of the babies, of course, we will be very glad and thank God for doing another miracle in Nigeria and it will also promote us as a nation, but if it is not true, the woman deserves to rot in jail after.”
Detention of the woman is wrong — Innocent Chukwuma, rights activist
The police only have the right to investigate her but not to detain her for more than the stipulated time by the constitution. It is wrong. They should consider the babies. Until she is proven otherwise, she is still the mother of the kids and she should be allowed to care for her babies. It is an infringement on her right.
It is against the constitution — Kenny Abiola Bakare CLO chairman, Lagos chapter
Her continued detention is illegal and runs contrary to the constitution. All they need to do is to investigate and that does not mean they have to detain her beyond what the constitution says. It is very wrong and against the rule of law. It is violation of human rights. If after investigation, they found out that the babies are not hers, then they should sue her to court and the court would jail her appropriately.
‘House arrest’ would have been better — Betty Ayorinde, Activist
The police seem to have already concluded she committed a crime. Arresting and detaining her for five days running now is illegal. They should have at least charge her to court, if they are so convinced that she committed the crime.
Apart from the emotional torture arising from taking the babies away from her to the motherless babies home, she should at least be put under ‘house arrest’.
So, that is another infringement on her right. What if at the end of the day, it turns out to be true miracle? It is good to start doing things right in this country. She has the benefit of the doubt until she is proven guilty. Police should handle the case very well.