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EXCLUSIVE: Families’ Inability To Pay For Flight Ticket For Nigerian Police Officers Stalls Investigation Into Paternity Of 20-Year-Old Woman Stolen At Birth

December 7, 2022

SaharaReporters had reported how providence dramatically brought Juliet to her biological parents, Professor Michael Okwudili and Lady Gloria Okwudili, natives of Ogbunike in the Oyi local government area of Anambra state at age 20.

Police investigation into the circumstances surrounding the paternity of a 20-year-old woman, Juliet Agulanna, has been stalled following the inability of families to pay for flight tickets and other logistics for the investigating officers.

SaharaReporters had reported how providence dramatically brought Juliet to her biological parents, Professor Michael Okwudili and Lady Gloria Okwudili, natives of Ogbunike in the Oyi local government area of Anambra state at age 20.

It reported that following the new reality and exposure of a 20-year-old secret, Mrs Mariatha Agulanna, the foster parents of Juliet, a student of Alex Ekwume Federal University, Ikwo, Ebonyi State, petitioned the Force Intelligent and Investigation Department (FIID) of the Nigeria Police Force against the Okwudilis.

Mariatha, in the petition, claimed that Professor Okwudili and his wife Lady Gloria are inciting people against her and accusing her of stealing their child at birth and changing her date of birth.

Mrs Agulanna in the petition she wrote through her lawyer, Ike Njoku Esq. had claimed, “In the year 2000, our client who could no longer have a baby by reason of ill health officially applied to the Red Cross Society at Owerri which was operating an orphanage to put her through the process of legally adopting a child.

“She was advised to register and to be on the waiting list. In June 2002, our client was informed that a baby girl was ready for adoption and that she should come and complete all adoption formalities for the release of the child to her.

“Upon arriving at their office and completing all documentation procedures, the baby was handed over to our client along with a certificate of adoption and our client returned to her abode in Enugu with her baby.

“A copy of the certificate issued to our client by the Red Cross Society is annexed hereto. Our client dutifully played her role as a mother, raised the child from infancy through primary and secondary education and she is now in the university."

On their own part, the biological parents of Juliet, (Okwudilis) have called the police in a counter-petition to investigate the disappearance of their daughter immediately after birth.

The Okwudilis in the petition signed by their lawyer, Odili Emeka Izuchuwku Esq., are accusing Mrs Agulanna and her husband Mr Lawrence Agulanna of child abduction and trafficking.

The Okwudilis want to know how their daughter who was born in Enugu was stolen and ended up with Mr and Mrs Agulanna of Ahiazu Mbaise, Ahiara Nnambria in Imo State with her date of birth changed, and without their consent.

"Ever since this issue came to limelight, Mrs. Mariatha Agulanna and her husband have used all sorts of means including writing a petition to the DIG FCID, Area 10 Gariki Abuja, who came and arrested our clients and took them to Abuja, where they were later released on bail.

"It is on this basis that we earnestly ask for your intervention and in-depth investigation on this matter so that the true paternity of this innocent girl can be determined."

However, the police recently summoned the parties to the Force headquarters for interrogation.

On Tuesday, December 6, 2022, a police source confided to SaharaReporters that a team of crack police officers had been detailed to commence an investigation into the paternity of Juliet.

The police source said, "As we speak, the police force headquarters has raised an investigation team to investigate the case. They will be in the South-East next week to begin investigations.

"The focus of the investigation is to find out whether the lady was legitimately adopted by the foster parents and how her parents didn't know that they had a daughter. How was she trafficked to Imo State and who were the ones involved?"

However, SaharaReporters reliably gathered that the investigating officers failed to show up because the families could not raise the N1.1 million the team had demanded to cater for their flight tickets and other logistics.

A senior police officer told SaharaReporters on Wednesday, that the two families were asked to pay N1.1 million for the police to carry out an investigation into the case. "Unfortunately, they didn't meet up with the payment, so that is why the investigation could not continue this week," the police source said.

The police source noted that one of the families involved has paid but the other party has not paid theirs.

SaharaReporters learnt that one family was asked to pay N700,000 while the other was asked to pay N400,000.

"There's no fund police authority provided for the investigation and if the parties want police to investigate the case, they should pay for it. It is now our operational standard. The officers want also some comfort. Travelling on roads is dangerous now so they consider their own safety first," the source added.

SaharaReporters could not get the families to react to the delay in the police investigation.