A man, Edet Asuquo, has fled his home in the Idi Araba area of Lagos State after he nearly killed his newborn baby, Gift Asuquo.
Little Gift’s offence was that she was a girl, as 32-year-old Edet was alleged to have said he didn’t see her usefulness and threatened to kill her.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Edet and the baby’s mother, Rosemary Kingsley, both indigenes of Calabar, Cross River State, were only dating when the woman became pregnant.
She was reported to have packed into the suspect’s apartment on Ayinla Street after she was delivered of the baby.
However, Edet, a bus conductor, was said to have been angry that his lover gave birth to a girl and not a boy as he expected, which resulted in frequent disagreements between them.
On January 10, 2018, the baby was reported to be hungry and was crying when the father allegedly slapped her.
She was said to have convulsed due to the severity of the assault and was rushed to a medical centre for treatment.
Some of the hospital workers reportedly called the attention of the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender to the matter, and the agency contacted the police at the Itire division.
By the time the police got to the house, the suspect had fled.
A social worker with the OPD told our correspondent that blood spurted out of the baby’s nostrils as a result of the injury she sustained, adding that the mark of the slap was visible on her cheek.
She said, “We gathered that the two lovers were not married. She sold plantain chips, while the man was a bus conductor. They just met on the road and agreed to date each other.
“She became pregnant a few weeks into the relationship. At the initial stage, the man didn’t want to take responsibility for the pregnancy. But after she was delivered of the baby, he bowed to pressure and allowed both mother and child to move in with him. They lived in a shop.
“According to the woman, the baby was crying that morning while the father carried her. He started abusing the baby and saying a girl would not be useful to him because he wanted a boy. She said he slapped the baby. At that point, the baby started convulsing. It was the neighbours who compelled him to get drugs for the girl’s treatment. She was later taken to a hospital. The mark of the assault is visible to the child.
“When the matter got to our attention, we mobilised policemen to the house. However, we were told that he had escaped. The police have promised to get him arrested for assaulting the innocent baby. Even the mother was being maltreated by Edet.”
The Director of the OPD, Mrs Olubukola Salami, said the agency would ensure that the suspect faced the full wrath of the law.
“The rising trend in child abuse is alarming. Children are vulnerable and should be protected, not pummelled. The Lagos State Government will ensure the rights of children are protected and perpetrators who violate these rights, irrespective of status, are brought to book, no matter how long it takes,” she added.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, confirmed the incident, adding that the Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, had ordered that the suspect is arrested.
He said, “The case was reported. The man slapped the baby and fled. We are looking for him. In fact, the CP, who detests abuse of children and domestic violence, has ordered the Divisional Police Officer to get him arrested. What he did is highly reprehensible and has no place in a modern society.”