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Friday, July 29, 2011

Fire disaster at Enugu Prison Barracks, Enugu Thursday

Members of Federal Road Safety Commission transferring the bodies of fire victims in their vehicle.
A view of the petrol tanker after the accident

Shows burning petrol tanker that caused the fire outbreak

Some vehicles affected by the fire incident

A thief caught during the incident being led away by the police.

People assisting Enugu State Fire Service to extinguish the fire outbreak.

Burnt body of one of the fire victim recovered from the Prison barracks.

Welcome! Oh Ramadan

Another chain of opportunities of opportunities are here again before us. It is a time for another high level spiritual devotion, for cleansing of our iniquities, for attracting divine blessings, for prayers, alms_giving, dhikr, re_direction of destinies, and a set of hundreds of opportunities for a ticket to al_janah.
Ramadan, the blessed month opens up a new vista for spiritual shopping, a month of intensive worship, reading of the Qur’an, giving charity, purifying one’s behaviour, and doing good deeds and moving the believers closer to his creator. It is a month in which good deeds are multiplied and bad deeds are overlooked.  A month of forgiveness and mercy, a month so great that flings the door of paradise open and with its might chains the devils and closes the doors of hell fire.
The night month of Islamic calendar and the third pillar of faith that is so honoured so much by Allah that the Glorious Qur’an was revealed.
For those who are drifted into swirls of sins and rebellion in different ways, to cleanse and purify themselves.
In this respect, one should make good use of the fruitfulness of Ramadan. It will amount to absolute loss in this world and a wanton miss of mercy and forgiveness of Allah if the month passed by without observing it.  What will be worse than digging one’s own grave and tumbles down in it?
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ascended the minbar and said: “Amin, amin, amin.” The companion asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the minbar and said, ‘Amin, amin, amin.” He said: “Jibril (peace be upon him) came to me and said: ‘If Ramadan comes and a person is not forgiven, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Amin.’ So I said Amin. He said: ‘O Muhammad, if both or one of a person’s parents are alive and he does not honour them and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Amin.’ So, I said Amin. He said: ‘If you are mentioned in a person’s presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Amin.’ So, I said Amin.”
Allah says in the Qur’an “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed for those before you.  That you may learn self restraint.”
Fast for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later.  For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent.  But he that will give more, of his own free will, it is better for him.  And it is better for you that you fast, if only you knew.”
“Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).  So, every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later.  Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulty.  (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him in that He has guided you, and perchance you shall be grateful.” (Q2:183-185)
Fasting for the period of 29 or 30 days in the month of Ramadan is not meant for self torture neither is it merely a temporary abstention from food and drink but a spiritual exercise to move believers closer to God and offer him divine blessings.  During the period,  a measure of ascendancy is given to one’s spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to God while Allah makes good His promise by descending mercy on the believers.
Fasting is also a way of developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning to appreciate Allah for His bounties. Fasting is also beneficial to the health and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.Many Muslims insist on the local physical sighting of the moon to mark the beginning of Ramadan, but others use the calculated time of the new moon or the Saudi Arabian declaration to determine the start of the month. Since the new moon is not in the same state at the same time globally, the beginning and ending dates of Ramadan depend on what lunar sightings are received in each respective location. As a result, Ramadan date vary in different countries, but usually only by a day. This is due to the cycle of the moon. When one country sees the moon, mainly Saudi Arabia, the moon travels the same path all year round and that same moon seen in the east is then seen traveling towards the west. All the countries around the world see the moon within a 24 hour period once spotted by one country in the east.
While being appreciative of the grace of Allah for witnessing another Ramadan, it is also important to welcome the glorious month by saying Mar’aba bika yaa Ramadan, wa baraka llahu fiha.

More facts emerge on Mother of 7 miracle babies

Precious Ogbonna
There are indication that the husband who had kept mum all these while may also be a complicity in the case of Precious' seven miracle babies.  A family source has hinted societygist that before the ordeal of his wife in the hands of the police, Mr Ogbonna demanded the sum of N4million from his wife as a share of what she had received as donations from good spirited Nigerians on the seven miracle babies.
We gathered that Precious refused claiming she had no such money and the man vowed to deal with her.  A family source also hinted that the man who is a furniture maker at 41 Tetlow street, Owerri had the habit of extorting money from his wife, adding that all had not been well with the family since the issue of pregnancy came up two years ago. We gathered that he stayed away from the house and only coming around when he needed money.
Source hinted that recently Precious moved out of the house to hire a three bed-room apartment at the Umulere, Owerri where she was arrested by the police on Monday June 20. He seldom come to the house according to the source.
Meanwhile, in the interview he granted one of the daily newspapers, he had tried to exonerate himself on the issue disclaiming suggesting he disclaims the paternity of the seven babies.
Watch out for more details 
Mr Donatus Ogbonna

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Home where ‘miracle babies’ were delivered

Side view of the house where miracle babies are born in Port-Harcourt
 *Another 3 babies delivered in 13mnths
•Charges between N.3m - N.5m per delivery

It was easy locating Nurse Blessing’s native  Maternity Home in Port-Harcourt where Precious Donatus Ogbonna claimed she was delivered of five of the seven babies.  In spite of the frustrating gridlock-traffic along Rumuokoro road, down to Rukpakulusi along Eleme road, compounded by the heavy downpour that afternoon, the mission was clear: to confirm her claim that she was pregnant of the children, take pictures of the place and also find out why pregnant women patronise the home since it was clear the nurse is being detained by the police in Owerri, Imo state.  But the whole exercise revealed other issues as neighbours and those who knew Nurse Blessing readily gave information.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that Precious Donatus might not be the only one in this incredible story of multiple births in months.  According to the neighbours, people patronised the Maternity Home, and there are those who had delivered there at different times which we immediately explored.
As we report this, another woman who is based in Warri, Delta State but who did not want her name in print following the controversy which the story of Precious Donatus has generated, claimed she also gave birth to three babies in two years in the same home.  She claimed she delivered her first baby in May 2009, another in October 2009 and the last one in June 2010.  All deliveries she said took place in Nurse Blessing’s native Maternity Home.  Like the story of Precious who also claimed to have had her five of her babies there, she stated that scan did not detect the babies in her womb.  But when SaturdayVanguard visited her home for an interview, she declined saying she has been warned against it until the issue of Precious Donatus is resolved.  She hinted that Nurse Blessing uses native materials, such as leaves, roots, and water.  “She will massage you with hot water to test the growth of the baby and ascertain whether it is time to deliver.
“When you deliver, she will give you a room and observe you for few days before you are discharged,” she added.
The other woman who was said to have also delivered a baby in the home could not be reached as at press time. But other information about the woman in charge of the home suggest either a spiritual manipulation of the multiple births or a huge racket of  sort yet uncovered.
Recently,  Abia state police command had raided the baby factory and rescued about 32 teenage expectant inmates from a certain clinic in the state where teenagers are kept until they are delivered of their babies.
According to the reports, the babies are usually taken away and their mothers discharged after being paid certain amounts ranging between N25, 000 and N30, 000, depending on the sex of the babies.
In the same vein, a natural clinic in Ugwuaku, Okigwe, Imo State, was believed to be the ‘solution ground’ for baby-seeking habitue. But behind the high fenced walls, all manner of the absurd takes place, away from the prying eyes of the public and law enforcement agents. Unknown to many, this was a hugely thriving baby factory, where women who pretend to be heavily pregnant deliver their ‘babies.’ But not without a price!
Could it be the one our source is referring to? Could it be a deception to cover up child-trafficking? Time will tell.

Nurse Blessing’s Home
At her house located on Ohonda close, in Rukpakulsi, the black iron gate is as tall as the building and you could hardly see anything from outside.
Hamzat, the gateman, who has been working with Nurse Blessing for several months, refused to let the guest in, saying he was warned never to open the gate for anybody.  The reporter had to slip his camera under the tall gate from which position he managed to take some shots. Hamzat however said that Nurse Blessing left the house about three weeks ago and  has not returned ever since.  He said her husband who is based in Abuja was around the previous day and had travelled back to his base.  He confirmed that Nurse Blessing used to take delivery of babies, adding that she has not done that for a couple of months now.  “She used to travel and deliver pregnant women of their babies but for some time now, she has not taken any delivery,” he said.
Another woman who preferred anonymity told SaturdayVanguard that Nurse Blessing had been doing the business for years now.
 “She is a fairly rich woman; we heard that she just delivered twins some  months ago.We also gathered she collects as much as N300, 000- N500,000 for each delivery depending on the complications.  She collects big money, sometimes 500,000 and sometimes less,” a source said.
“We also gathered that Nurse Blessing got her tutelage from a popular woman in Okigwe; Imo state who treats all kinds of spiritually attacked pregnancies for N1million.  The Okigwe woman we gathered had trained several women in the business and Nurse Blessing is one of them.”
A few distance from the house, a resident said Nurse Blessing was known in the area for the business of delivering pregnant women by massaging, and using warm water on the women’s belly. It is like a native hospital.
She also hinted that she used to stay on Jacob Ahonda street (pointing to the place) before she moved to where she now stays some metres away.”   When the reporter narrated the story of Precious Donatus Ogbonna to see if there is any confirmation of it or similar story, she declined knowledge of that but revealed that women quietly come there, give birth and leave most times without people knowing the details.

Tension as DNA samples are taken

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 a Pathologist from 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 other 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.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A debate on Islamic banking

Islamic banking became prominent in the early 1970s after the launch of the first International Conference on Islamic Economics organized by King Abdul Aziz University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It was immediately followed by the establishment of the first commercial Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) in the United Arab Emirates.
No sooner than later, the International Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia paved the way for many private commercial Islamic banks. Egypt, Sudan, Kuwait, Pakistan and others followed suit.
The emergence of this Islamic banking was not only seen as a feasible and viable alternative financial institution but also as an efficient and productive way of undertaking financial intermediation between surplus and deficit economic units. Giving free-interest on loans from the surplus and at the same time operating on PLS (profit and Loss Sharing).
Since then, Islamic banking has gained momentum and has been growing very fast so much that the practice of Islamic banking is now not limited to only Arab and Muslim countries but has spread from East to West, all the way from Indonesia and Malaysia towards Europe and the Americas.  Today, there are several hundreds of interest free banks in about fifty countries of the world in addition to other conventional banks which provide Islamic financial products. So, if Nigeria is joining the league of countries that are operating the non-interest banking, does that make Nigeria an Islamic country?
In Nigeria, attempts have been made hitherto, to established Islamic banking system. What is now raising dust in some quarters predated the present CBN governor. The first move was made by Jaiz International Plc during the tenure of Chief Joseph Sanusi but was later approved under Prof Chukuma Soludo.
In 2007,  Bank PHB launched the system paving the way for an integration of Islamic banking principles into the structures of the conventional banking system with its interest-free (Riba) financial products. You can also talk about the TAKAFUL which literally means “mutual guarantee.” It has different financial products designed to ensure that Muslim faithfuls still stay in tune to their faith.
At this junction, Nigerians should look at the product and see what it has to offer the economy.
Ibanking as I would love to call it is based on free interest.   It is  based on Profit and Loss Sharing (PLS) system where profit and loss will be shared by investors.  The investors are not only limited to Muslims alone. Non-muslims whose principle and ideas are in concert with the dictates of free-interest which Islam propagates can invest in it.  The very essence of it is to provide alternative to the almighty-interest based principle of the conventional banks and to build capacity in micro and macro-economic management.
The underlying principle of Islamic banks is the principle of justice which is an essential requirement for all kinds of Islamic financing. In profit sharing of a financed project, the financier and the beneficiary share the actual or net profit/loss rather than throwing the risk burden only to the entrepreneur. The principle of fairness and justice requires that the actual output of such a project should be fairly distributed among the two parties. If a financier is expecting a claim on profits of a project, he should also carry a proportional share of the loss of that project.
One of the unique and salient characteristics of Islamic bank is that the integration of ethical and moral values is the hallmark of the banking operation. The ethical and moral consideration of Islamic bank cannot be detached and their behaviour should be consistent with the moral and ethical standards laid down by Islamic law.
Islamic banks are restricted to useful goods and services and refrain from financing alcoholic beverages and tobacco or morally unacceptable services such as casinos and pornography, irrespective of whether or not such goods and services are legal or profitable in a given country.
Another important characteristic which forms the basis for the development of Islamic banks is the relationship with depositors. They deal with their customers on investment grounds rather than a pre-determined fixed interest rate. They invest the money of their depositors on high profitable projects after going through a strategic analysis in order to give a substantial return to their depositors.
Furthermore, Islamic banks eliminate the barrier between those who save and those who invest, and bring them closer to the real market. The nature of the financial intermediation of Islamic banks significantly defers from conventional banks and it is in harmony with real market and in tune with the dynamics of the economy.
I think the CBN should introduce the theoretical foundations and principles on which this new alternative is going to work.  It is then people who are suspecting another ‘Islamic agenda’ can have a rethink on the need for it rather than crying over what they have little or no knowledge about. You also cannot rule out the possibility of islamophobia, but like I used to say Islam tolerates only non-Muslims dont.

Friday, July 1, 2011

TERRORISM: A challenge for the state

IN the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
The need has come to tackle the issue of terrorism with all the strength and might of government since it is the duty of government to protect the lives and property of its citizenry.  The security of man and woman irrespective of religious, tribal and social sentiment is a fundamental responsibility of the government and it must pull all stops to ensure that people live without fear of harassment.
One of the illogical arguments people put forward on the issue of Boko Haram is that it is religiously inclined. Some are quick to illustrate with weak evidences of Islam being supportive of terrorism, some base their opinions on the premise that known perpetrators are Muslims, Usama Bin Laden, bla! bla!  Fanatical Muslims do one evil or the other not on the teachings of Islam, neither do they carry out their gruesome acts on the practice of the prophet nor on the agreement of most Muslims in a given society.  Most are carried out based on ulterior motives of individuals or group.  Fortunately, the Qur’an is one and no verse of it encourages killing of fellow human being and destruction of properties for admittance into paradise.  The interpretation of the verse(s) which non Muslims are quick to quote is basically for defence justified by the circumstances which the verse was revealed and situation of earliest Muslims at that time.  when the infidels struck to attack the Muslims in an attempt to wipe out Islam.   But today, it has been so misinterpreted to suit the interest of the interpreter.
We have also heard of Christian terrorists who had carried out heinous crimes against humanity but yet they cannot be said to represent the teachings of their religion.   Kenny McClinton, Peter Steinfels, The Arm of the Lord, Defensive Action to mention a few. The list is more but that is not the point. The point is that anyone that goes about killing in the name of God does that on his own volition and it is meant to pursue a personal interest, not of the religion.  It is an ideologue which cannot be made to bear on the faith that discourages it.   Several evidences abound that pontificate 'no compulsion' in religion. 
In spite of all the condemnation and comments by Muslims scholars in the country and world over on the attacks allegedly said to have been launched by Muslims or groups,  people still adduce their subjective notions about Islam as being supportive of terrorism, irrespective of the obvious teachings of Islam that preaches peace and encourage peaceful co-existence. The matter is made worse by the group (Boko Haram) which many people see as a Islamic sect.
Muslims scholars in the country have continued to condemn the insurgence of Boko Haram in the country.  Sermon, lectures and papers have been delivered and published in the media to elucidate on the position of Islam against terrorism, yet subjective approximations and opinions abound.

Islam has prohibited everything that may pose threat to social harmony, cause breach of peace or may endanger peace and security of the citizenry.  Islamic laws stand for maintenance of peace and prevention of riots and disturbances. Islam strives for elimination of oppression, rioting or anything which adversely affects the culture and civilization of a country.  Terrorism ruptures social peace and Islam forbids it. It desires peace, tranquillity and social harmony. Acts of terrorism destroy the moral principles, meant for the welfare of human beings. That is a crime against humanity and God and has no place in a religion like Islam.  Any group or individual who hold different position cannot be said to represent Islam. Chikena!

Several attacks have been carried out in recent time, yet government has not been able to uncover the  perpetrators. It will be interesting to knwo those who are behind these devilish acts.
Any terrorist activity, which targets innocent persons, is against the concept of divine compassion and peace in Islam. That point has been elucidated from different angles by different scholars. Islam views any human act that violates divine compassion or peace with great contempt and derision. According to a famous tradition of the Prophet (s.a.w), he described all creatures as the ‘family of Allah’ and has instructed that they should be treated well. ‘He is the most beloved of Allah, who treats His family well. One who is kind to others is qualified for Divine Compassion. The Qur’an makes it very clear, “My Mercy extendeth to all things. “ (Surah Al A ‘raf, verse 156)
A climate of anarchy violates Divine Compassion and blessings of the Prophet (s.a.w).
Islam presents the best practical  model of tolerance. It is therefore a baseless fabrication that Islam is not disposed to tolerating people belonging to other creeds, ideologies and religions or supportive of violence.  The history of Islam offers models of religious tolerance and best treatment of persons belonging to different era.  Go back to history, Islam did not initiate a war agaisnt non-Muslims even when they had the opportunity. All the wars led by the prophet were launched by unbelievers against Islam and Muslims.  The prophet led the wars purely in defence and preservation of the faith.  Islam does not teach that  persons holding different creeds and ideas be eliminated. It aims to create suitable atmosphere for the principle “live and let live.”
Suratu-l- Kafiroon  makes it clear, Lakumdinukum, waliyadeen “To you be your Way, and to me mine.” La ikhra fi-deen  “Let there be no compulsion in religion. “ (Suratul- Baqarah, verse 256).
Nobody should be compelled to adopt Islam.   That is the teachings of Islam.  Any thing contrary is untrue about Islam and is unacceptable.

7 ‘miracle babies’: We’ll unravel the issue soon — Police

The dust raised by the alleged birth of seven babies in less than one year is yet to settle. While the alleged mother of the babies insist they are hers and surrenders herself and the babies for DNA test, Imo State Police Command has accepted the challenge and is currently investigating the incident. Saturday Vanguard exclusively spoke to Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu. Excerpts.

How did the police step into the mystery babies story?
Yes, the police came into the picture as soon as we read the publications in
newspapers that one Mrs. Precious Ogbonna gave birth to seven children within a
space of 11 months, we naturally became curious.
The answer is very simple. This report runs contrary to the laws of nature. It is a strange development that needs to be properly investigated. The woman at the centre of the controversy calls it a miracle. So, we are interested in finding out if it is actually a miracle for which we give God the glory or there is a fraud somewhere. In the police, we suspect everything.
So, what are you doing now?
We are investigating the veracity or otherwise of the woman’s claims.
How did you arrest her?
She is a General Overseer of a church and churches normally meet on Sundays. So, on a Sunday we went there to worship with them. We saw her with the children and thereafter, other things followed. Detectives went to her church here in Owerri, traced her and we were able to pick her and placed her under arrest.  She is now under our custody. We also recovered the seven children. These children are innocent children. They look up to us as adults and their best friends. It is our duty to protect them. They look up to us to protect them. They are vulnerable. If they are stolen children or came into her through ways that are not authorized, we owe it a duty as responsible Nigerians to protect them, protect their interest. Any of them can the nation’s president tomorrow.
Where are these children now. Are they also in police custody?
We have rescued them. We have kept them in safe custody in one of the good homes. The Nigerian Police is seeing to their welfare in collaboration with the organization that is keeping them.
What do you call the organization?
Sorry, I will not make public the name of the organization. All I can say is that it is an approved organization and recognized by government.
What else have you done?
The woman is in our custody and we have been able to raise a medical team through the help of a government hospital. The medical team is examining her to know if her womb had carried any baby in recent time and if so, how many. We also expect the medical team to ascertain if it is possible to have seven children in one year.  Medical people are going to determine that bit of the puzzle.
Have you conducted medical tests on the woman and the children?
Yes. We have conducted a number of tests, including genotype and the rest of them. I am not competent to talk about the tests but a team of experienced Nigerian medical doctors have examined her on a number of issues. They will help to determine if she was actually the mother of the seven children. The results are coming out in bits and in a few days time. We are also proposing to do a DNA test on the woman and the children. The DNA should be the final test to fully determine their maternity or blood relationship between her and those children.  We really want to prove if she had these children correctly or she got them from some unauthorized sources. Every Nigerian is interested in this matter.
Have you interrogated her husband?
Yes. We have been able to contact her husband and he has spoken to us on a number of issues. The husband is Donatus Ogbonna, a 48-year old furniture maker, a Christian and lives here in Owerri. He has made a statement to the police and given his own side of the story. So, we are going to match it with the results of the medical tests we are going to give Nigerians the result of our findings, as to the truth or otherwise of the woman’s claims that she had these babies in one year.
Will the police also match the medical tests of the children with that of their alleged father?
This should be left with the medical team. If the medical team so decides, they will do it. The woman’s husband is ready and willing and very much available.  He is in very close contact with the police. However, I do know that if they are able to match her DNA with any of the children, then we must have established a point.  So, the medical team will determine what next to do.
Apart from what has been published in newspapers, are there fresh things you have unearthed?
Police investigation is normally holistic. In the course of our investigation, we had cause to interrogate a number of people, who will stand as witnesses. She has mentioned hospitals that she attended. The police will be visiting them in Port Harcourt.  By tomorrow, we will be in those hospitals and look at a number of other issues. Our investigation has been very thorough. I can assure you that in a week’s time, we will be able to get a good result that will assuage the feelings of Nigerians.
If you don’t mind, where exactly are these children kept?
For their safety, it is not proper to disclose where we are keeping them right now. They are in a safe home, a safe approved, competent home; well managed and recognized by both the federal government and other international organizations.  We don’t need to mention where they are for their own safety and we don’t want  their picture to appear in any paper. It is in their best interest. The best interest of the children are our concern.
Is the police keeping close watch over the children?
Yes, we have 24-hour guard over the children where they are right now. We don’t ave any complain about their safety or welfare. The police authorities are seeing to that in concert with the organization that is keeping them.
Can you tell us how much the police has spent on the children so far?
We are taking good care of them. They are our children. I don’t normally count the cost of training my children or feeding them everyday. They are our children. They belong to all of us and once they are in police custody, the police should take care of them. So, we are not counting costs. We want them to be safe and sound and to become good Nigerians after this episode.
How long do you intend to keep her in custody?
As long as the time permitted by law and for as long as investigations continue, we will keep visiting her case. But I think that a definite decision will be taken as soon as the DNA test is over.
Is there any other information you would like to give us?
For now, all I want to tell Nigerians is that the police is committed and determined to get to the end of this issue. We are determined to find the paternity and maternity of these children. If the children belong to her, we wish them the best of luck. If they don’t belong to her, the police will make concerted effort to reunite them with their legitimate families and to find the link between her and those children.
Is the police suspecting child trafficking in this case?
It is possible there is a trafficking somewhere and it is our duty to stop such trafficking from continuing, from gaining root. We will get to the root of  it and break that network so that our children will have a brighter future.
Can you confirm  if she has made any confessional statement?
There is no confessional statement of any kind on her part. The police is not expecting her to confess. We want to go through it thoroughly and professionally. We are painstaking in our bid to get to the root of the matter.

Police go tough on mother of miracle babies

Precious' church:  Holy Ghost Power Ministry,

The mother of seven ‘miracle babies, Mrs Precious Donatus Ogbonna  made a desperate plea as she languishes in police detention in Owerri just as she insisted that her story is true.  From
the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) where she is being held, source disclosed that she was yearning for help on her situation as the police continued to gather information on her claim.  
Inside source hinted Saturday vanguard that she is being subjected to a very annihilating condition, an action which suggests that she has already been condemned by the police.  “The condition of where she was kept was terrible” adding that only one of the family members was allowed to see her since her detention.
One of her relations, we gathered, who was at the station to see her was almost locked up few days ago.  “Few days ago, an uncle of hers was there to see her but the police insisted that he had to write a statement, but after some argument, he left the station angrily” source said.  But we gathered that frantic efforts are being made by some of her family members to ensure her release soon.  There position we gathered was that she should not be presumed to have committed the crime of stealing babies until investigation proved so, adding that proper investigation should be carried out.
Our source however, hinted that few days ago, she cried for help asking to see her babies especially when information filtered to her that two of the babies were ill.  The babies have been kept in a motherless babies in Owerri under the close watch of the police.  Source who visited the home where the babies were kept said, the babies were restless and the authorities of the home are willing to reject the babies. “the babies were crying all day, and the authorities of the home are saying the police should come and carry the babies”source said.
Pa Anthony, Precious' father
Mr Ogbonna who was said to have been questioned and immediately released did not pick his call when Vanguard sought to hear from him.  At press time, our reporter eventually got him, but  he declined comment saying he was very angry with Vanguard on our publications of the story.
Mr. Ogbonna has refused to speak with Vanguard since the story broke out.  
Mrs. Ogbonna before her arrest told Vanguard that her husband abandoned their home and disclaimed the paternity of the babies making her to bear the brunt of caring for the seven babies alone.  She had always insisted that only a DNA test can convince him and bring him back.
Barr Bamidele Aturu, Human Rights Activist
The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Imo State Command, Mr. Linus Nwaiwu, when contacted, said he would get back to Vanguard on the issue, but our source hinted that the police is interested in the hospital where she claimed to have delivered the babies while other investigation continues. We gathered that Mrs Ogbonna has yet refused to name the hospitals where she claimed to have delivered the babies.
Precious’s father, Mr. Anthony Achoneye, 75, who earlier spoke with Vanguard on the issue refused to comment. He said he was not unaware of the arrest but said he was on the sick bed in Nwangele Amiegbo, his village receiving treatment. “I have been told of her arrest but I can tell you anything now, I am on the sick bed in my village and until I get back to Owerri, I cant 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.

I’m expecting more babies, ready for DNA test, Mother of 'miracle babies' says

Mrs Precious Donatus Ogbonna Mummy P

Last week, we published a story of one Precious Donatus Ogbonna who claimed to have delivered seven babies in one year.  In order to bring you a detailed report this week, Saturday Vanguard deplored personnel to Owerri, where she is based to find out more about the story, what the doctors say, reactions of neighbours and other information surrounding her claim. Ishola Balogun  writes. 

TO some, it just bizarre while others believe it was a miracle. Giving birth to seven babies in one year is a strange occurrence that even those in the field of medicine have described inexplicable. But to Pastor Precious Donatus Ogbonna, the mother of the seven babies, it is a miracle, a life-affirming tale of a blessed family that puts multiple births into perspective at least in this part of the world.
In her Umuelele, Irete residence and MCC road where her church is located, Mrs Ogbonna was popular even before her miraculous delivery of the babies.    Few people in her neighbourhood who volunteered to speak to Saturday Vanguard on her character said they knew her as a prayer warrior and General Overseer of Holy Ghost Power Salvation Ministry, Owerri adding that the birth of the babies was another miracle in the recent time. But what is more stunning now is that the number of the babies from this single conception might increase to ten as she hinted Saturday Vanguard that she still expects more. “As I am talking to you, I am still expecting another one.  I am feeling it.  I had actually prayed for seven children but God said I was going to have ten,” she says. And for those who still hold a doubt on the veracity of her story, the Pastor has challenged that she is ready for a DNA test as scientific proof for her miracle.  She however ref used to mention the hospital where her deliveries took place saying that “Those who are waiting to be told the hospitals where the deliveries took place before they believe should know that we are in a computer age that I am available and very very ready for a DNA test.” adding that God had warned her against that.
Interestingly, she hinted that this miracle was predicted by her niece, a little a 10year old prophetess in her household.
Below are details of her story.

My story — Precious Ogbonna, Pastor of Holy Ghost Power Salvation Ministry, Owerri,
I have been believing God for the fruit of the womb for a very long time, and after12 years, God remembered me and gave all these children.  It was one conception that generated this miracle.  While I was praying for babies, I pray for people to have babies and God answered them and they gave testimonies.  But, I kept wondering even as I continually pray to God that why should I be left out in the miracle.  I used to tell God what people used to say about me, the persecution, mockery and other tribulations, but I believe these are bound to happen.  God told me I was going to conceive and that month did not go without the wish of God coming to pass. When I took in, I went for a pregnancy test and it was positive.  But at that point, two months after, I saw blood like it was my menstrual period and it continued like that till the night month.  There was a time it flew for 14 days. I prayed and God told me blood was not pregnancy.  Somebody also told me it was a sign of multiple pregnancy.  At the night month, I put to bed a baby girl.  Because of the long period of childlessness, I prayed to God that I wanted a multiple babies.  After returning from hospital,  friends came to give me some further treatment, they were massaging me seriously ensuring there was no congealed blood.  They tied a wrapper on my stomach but when I prayed, God said I should remove the wrapper and I did instantly. I was taking the usual pepper soup not knowing I had more babies in my womb.  But the baby died after five days after.  I gave up to God believing that He has a better plan for me. I called my little niece who had earlier prophesied that I was going to be pregnant to pray for me.  She did and said that I was still pregnant.  After sometime, I went to do an ultra scan and it was confirmed that I was pregnant, they also confirmed that there was a fibroid, a hole some where (an indication where the first baby passed through) I also did not revealed that I gave birth to a baby before. I was afraid they will recommend a surgery.  On the eighth month after the first baby, I gave birth to another baby girl named Conqueror Ogbonna.  Few days after the birth, I was still feeling some kicks in my stomach, I visited a doctor and he prescribed some hard drugs which I refused to take, and one month after, I had another baby named Angel Ogbonna.  When I went back to the hospital where I bore the other one, the doctor did not accept me saying he was confused telling me this has never happened before.  That made me to registered in so many hospitals. In August put to bed again, another baby girl.  Somebody who came to congratulate me surprisingly said why is it that I gave birth to only female babies, asking that is it only female babies in my womb.   I became sad, and I prayed to God and on August 16, 2010, I bore a baby boy named Ekpereamaka, meaning prayer is good.   Thereafter, on September 19, 2010, I had another female baby named Finessed.  On October 19, 2010, I also had another named Evidence (female) and until January 13, 2011, I had Flourish, male and lastly on April 2, 2011, I gave birth to Ebenezer, male.  It is an unusual miracle.  Each baby with its placenta, it means 16 ‘push’.  People are wondering how it happened. I believe God decided to honour me in this way.  And as I am talking to you, I am still expecting another one.  I am feeling it.  I had actually prayed for seven children but God said I was going to have ten.  So, I marvelled and thought the ten would come in a space of twenty years not knowing what God had in stock for me.  Right now, I want to tell you that I am feeling baby kicks. When the next baby will come I don’t know and I am not ready to do any ultra scan.

Kidnappers were after me, I will not reveal the hospitals but ready for a DNA test

When Pastor precious was asked to name the hospital where she gave birth to her babies, she declined saying: “I will not go against what God asked me to do.  Do you know that when i delivered the first baby, people wanted to kidnap me and the baby.  But God prevailed on them.  I told you I am a delivering Minister.”  When asked how she could proved that, she said: “That is the fact.  You know my work and yours are not the same. I am a Pastor who pray for different people and when you do that and they see result, some people who have done one harm or the other against them might go after your life. So, which ever way God asked me to do something, that is how I go about it.  Those who are waiting to be told the hospitals before they believe should know that we are in a computer age that I am available and very very ready for a DNA test.  Maybe that will convinced them, but for me to mention the name of the hospitals, no, I wont do that because God warned me against that. I remember when I went back to the first hospital to deliver the second baby, they said ‘woman! are you crazy’, how can you say you are in labour after putting to bed last month’

Why I’m not breastfeeding the babies
“I breastfed the first baby, but when she died, I took some drugs in order to stabilise my breast. And when the second baby came, I did not breast feed based on two things.  I was still feeling the kicks of babies in my womb and it is advised not to breastfeed while still pregnant.   Again, God ministered to me not to do that.  They take instant formula of two and half cartoons every week at the cost of N26,000 and about 10 cartoons every month which is about N260,000 monthly.” Let alone pampers and other things. It is not easy.

Little prophetess in the house

Mmesonma Onyenachi, 10, is a cousin of the miracle woman (Precious Ogbonna). Little Mmesonma sometime ago prophesied that her aunty would soon forget the trauma of childlessness and give birth in a miraculous way.  When her Pastor Prescious got pregnant and delivered her first baby in 2009, which passed on five days later, little Mmesonma prophesied that there was more babies coming and behold, it came to pass.  According to her “I didn’t just know how I do that but I just realised that it is a special natural gift.” she said. On what she intend to become in future, Mmesonma, a primary four pupil of unnamed primary school in Owerri said she neither want to become a doctor nor an engineer but a Pastor.  “I want to become a Pastor, and I know with my special gift, I will achieve that.” She continued that “Because of the way I used to pray for people, my schoolmates call me pastor.”   Her aunty (Pastor Precious Ogbonna) noted that Mmesonma fasts every Saturday and often times go on fasting every other day. “ She became a prophetess at the age of Nine. Apart from her prophesy that I will give birth to more babies, she is known in the church for giving prophesies and they always come to pass. She prays and fasts a lot. I sometimes have to plea with her to do a 6-12 fasting instead of her choice of 6-6 fasting.” she stated.     

Amazing qualities of the babies
Among the seven babies, Pastor Precious singled out Chizitere, (Treasure) female, who was born June 3, 2010 to have some amazing qualities.  She noted that little Treasure amazed the family when she began to talk at four months. “She started talking calling ‘tata’ when she clocked four months. It amazed us but we also know they all are precious gift from God with special blessings”  Another amazing quality of Treasure, she added  was that “when ever she hits my stomach calling tata frequently, I will go into labour to born the next baby.  She has done that a couple of times. Apart from that, all of them are happy and growing very well.”

Neighbours speak
It’s true, she is a prayer warrior
It is true. It is what can be called uncommon miracle.  I know her, she used to go pray for people even before she was called as a pastor.  She is a prayer warrior. Why should people doubt it? What is the basis for lying about giving birth to seven children? You should first of all know that she has the trouble of taking care of them all.  If she wanted to adopt babies, how can I go adopt seven babies. Just look at their feeding, clothing, and general upkeep let alone when they start going to school. I think no one will do that knowing what she would face.  But because it is natural it remains a blessing—  Mrs Victoria Ikenwosu,

I believe it but it is a puzzle
It is still a puzzle to me. All I can tell you about her is that she is a pastor of a church and people believe her as somebody with integrity.  On the basis of that I believe the story. But I was not in the labour room with her, we just heard the story of her multiple birth.

It is a miracle!
I attend her church and because of the wonderful things in terms of miracle that she is doing, I believe her story.  She used to pray for people who had no kids and they were blessed through her prayers. People come from different places for one thing or the other and they used to give good testimonies about the case at the end.  I know of several cases she has helped in prayer for the fruit of the womb, and it is normal to believe that miracle could as well happen in her case. — Ndidi Onyekachi, MCC,Owerri.     

What doctors say
It cannot be explained — Dr Donald Chidi Nwankwo, a Physician, FUTO Medical Centre
And you know anything that cannot be explained could be said as miracle. I have written to the state government because I know the world will ask question.  Government should take it up and look into it.
I really don’t blame people who doubt it because since it is miracle, people will doubt it.  It is only in science that we have proof but in miracle, there is no proof. So, if they don’t doubt it, then it is not a miracle. What is beyond human imagination is called miracle. In the present time, it is possible but you may not be able to explain it.  A normal human being have one uterus just like you can say one heart for one person, supposing tomorrow we see somebody with two hearts and more than one uterus as human being. So, on the woman, the matter can be proved through a DNA test, there are other scientific way of proving it though, it will be complicated and expensive.   can prove that

Woman delivers 7 babies in 11months

In a strange manner, a woman has delivered a set of  seven babies within a space of 11 months, three males and four females.  The woman, Mrs Precious Donatus who lives in Aguda, Suru-lere, Lagos, gave birth to her first child in August, 2009, after 11 years of childlessness but the baby died five days later. 
Ten months later, Mrs Precious conceived and delivered the seven babies within intervals of one month . When we visited the home of the family, the husband Mr Donatus Ogbonna, a business man from Imo State was at home. She told Saturday Vanguard that at birth of the first baby, they  did not know that would be the beginning of her journey to delivering seven babies.  Narrating her story, Mrs Precious told Saturday Vanguard that the first baby died after five days of birth adding that “immediately after putting to bed of the first baby, the doctor told me that there was another baby in my womb”
The babies are :first baby, August 25 2009, Amarachi (died after five days); second baby, May 6, 2010 (Conqueror, female); third baby, June 3, 2010, (Chizitere, female); fourth baby, August 16, 2010 (Ekpereamaka, male); fifth baby, September 19, 2010, (Fineseed Angel, female); sixth baby, October 19, 2010 (Evidence, female); seventh baby, January 13, 2011,( Flourish, male), eight baby, April 2, 2011, (Ebenezer, male) .