By Ishola Balogun
The embattled miracle birth woman, Precious Donatus Ogbonna was cold. Her voice wobbled, fighting back tears throughout the few hours she was let out of the cell for a DNA test sponsored by the Vanguard Media Ltd. Clad in a flowing gown with a jacket she wore weeks ago when Saturday Vanguard interviewed her in her house in Owerri.
She looked atrophied with the realities of detention visible on her. Even the innocent babies too had a fair share of the transformation and hash realities of detention.
They had mosquito bites and rashes on parts of their bodies. she was full of emotions throughout the period the DNA test lasted, only muttering few words to her family member.
But very soon, the puzzle about her claim to have delivered seven babies in 11 months will be unravelled as samples for the test were taken last Monday in Owerri, Imo state.
The team, which included Vanguard reporters and the Chief Pathologist of PathCare Lab in partnership with a South African company, Dr. Segun Isioye was received by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, CID, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu in his office. The team escorted by eight policemen immediately drove in convoy of two Police Hilux jeep to the Nigerian Red Cross Society and Motherless Babies home behind the Government House, Owerri, few kilometres from the Police Headquarters where the babies are receiving care.
Some of the police escorts, including Precious Donatus carried the babies from the Red Cross home to the clinic and back to the home after the test.
At the Nigerian Red Cross Society and Motherless Babies home
The home which has about four detached halls blocks has 16 babies between the age of 4 months to two years in a well ventilated Babies Hall that takes over 20 baby cots. No security men were seen. Source hinted Saturday Vanguard that a policeman was seen around the home during the first week of the babies in the home and wondered why the guard was discontinued in view of the controversy surrounding the birth of the babies.
When the team entered the babies’ hall, five of the babies screamed in a high voice simultaneously as soon as they saw their ‘Mother’ Precious Donatus. The eldest, Conqueror, cried loudly, pointing at Precious, defying others who offered to carry her. The action pulled the ‘Mother’ to tears as she wept.
At the Police Clinic
The clinic specifically meant for the police in the state headquarters, is located about three kilometres away from the police headquarters. Away from the bustling and hit of the town, it was as if the area was meant for that purpose alone, you could count the number of houses in that vicinity. But that is where the sickly police officers in the state visit when the need arises.
In the clinic’s waiting hall, Precious took time to inspect the babies. As the bio-data of the babies were being taken, she examined the babies thoroughly. She had seen them once since the three weeks she was thrown in detention. She battled tears that proved unstoppable as she saw mosquito bites and rashes on the skin of the babies. She could not contain the pain. She asked some of the police officers, including this reporter to see the mosquito-bitten bodies of her babies appealing that adequate care should be ensured on the babies.
The blood samples were taken in a small doctor’s consulting room in the clinic. Precious who took the first turn was asked to carry the babies in turn for their sample. It was done in order of their births. She continued to examine the bodies of the babies one after the other as as she intermittently complained of skin problem the babies had developed, just as the screaming of the babies while conducting the test attracted sympathy from even the police. We gathered it was not too long ago that the police took the babies’ blood for genotype test.
Her husband, Mr Donatus Ogbonna, who came later to the clinic, did not utter a word even when he saw his embattled wife at the waiting room. Neither did he seek to carry any of the babies. After the test, when Saturday Vanguard sought to ask his opinion about the test, he declined comment, saying he would not grant any interview based on the first publication made.
The test was supervised by the Medical officer of the clinic Dr, Ndubuisi Chukwudi Frank, (CSP) and the Investigating Police Officer of the case, B. S. Pedro.
At about 5:45pm, the babies were returned to the Red Cross after the test. The Matron of the home when asked to comment on the babies and the home, declined comment , saying she was not permitted to make any comment on the home or the babies there.
ACP, CID briefed
The team returned the babies to the home and went straight to the police headquarters to brief the Assistant Commissioner of Police, CID. In the ACP, CID’s office, the samples were signed and sealed by the suspect, Precious Ogbonna and Vanguard Media Ltd and Pathcare Lab.
The ACP disclosed that other preliminary tests had been conducted and the results were ready but that the DNA will give accurate genealogical information about the babies and the suspect.
Meanwhile, family source hinted that the result of a test purportedly conducted by a firm in Lagos recently which Saturday Vanguard referred to in one of its publications is being withheld by the sponsor. The source stated that “we have made several attempts to reach the person but we have not heard any thing. We called their line, they were not picking. Probably, they were waiting for the release of Precious before they act on it.”
Apart from arraigning the suspect in court last Tuesday, the police have uncovered one of the places she allegedly gave birth to five of the seven babies. The owner of the home, Nurse Blessing, a Port Harcout based native maternity nurse who Precious claimed took deliveries of five of her seven babies, has been arrested and as at press time, was still in police detention. When Precious appeared in court last Tuesday, Nurse Blessing was not arraigned with her.
However, Precious, who was full of gratitude for Saturday Vanguard has been telling even inmates in the Police cell in Owerri that it is only the DNA that can save her from prosecution and persecution.
In spite of her firm decision to have a paternity test, quite a lot of people still do not believe her story and therefore wonder that under this inexplicable sequence of her claim medically, she could still damn the consequences by insisting on a DNA test, just as some say she might be out of her minds. Before the test was carried out, this reporter engaged her in another discussion and the interaction ran thus:
Could you please tell us the truth about the babies?
They are my babies, I’ll continue to say that and that is why I said I was ready for a DNA test.
Are you very sure?
Yes! I am very sure.
What would you do if the DNA turns out negative?
Never, and I say never. The babies are mine.
According to Dr Segun Isioye of Pathcare Lab, the result will be ready on or before 14 days. As we await the result of the DNA test anytime from next week, the case will unravel the puzzle of this miraculous birth as well as a new angle to a new issue that will emerge.