Who is actually the biological parents of this 17-year-old girl? This is the poser that the officers and men of the Oyo State Police Command are trying to unravel. In Oyo State, two couples are laying claim to a 17-year-old girl and the assignment is a difficult one for the police for a number of reasons.
The two couples gave the same name to their own daughters; the two couples also bear the same surnames and they both hail from Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State.
The couples – Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Oladapo and Alhaji and Alhaja Ganiyu Oladapo – are each claiming to be the biological parents of a girl, Suruyatu Oladapo. Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Oladapo said they gave birth to their daughter – Suruyatu Oladapo at the CAC Mission Clinic while Alhaji and Alhaja Oladapo said their own baby was delivered in their house. Speaking with Daily Sun, Mr. Timothy Oladapo said he got married to his wife in 1988 and they had seven children.
“My first son died and my daughter, Suruyatu Esther Oladapo, got missing at the age of six years. That was in September 2002. I came from a Muslim family but today, I am a Christian. My daughter, Suruyatu Esther Oladapo, was delivered at the CAC Mission Ministry, Ile Ayo Gbaremu area, Ibadan, Oyo State.”
He further explained: “My girl, Suruyatu, attended Beacy Nursery and Primary School and she was registered in 2002 at the age of six years. Later, she was taken to Oluwadamilola Nursery and Primary School.”
That was where she got missing from the school in September 2002. They were four pupils that went to school that fateful day. Two of them were my friend’s daughters. Suddenly I was called from Saki that my little daughter, Suruyatu, was missing. We quickly went to Gbagi Police Station to report a case of child missing.
“The announcement was made on Radio Nigeria, Ibadan. Later we went to the Ministry of Information with my lawyer, who is now a magistrate in Iyaganku. We went and sued the school in court and there and then the school was closed down.” Mr. Timothy Oladapo added that “all members of the landlords association, including friends, came to plead with me and the school was reopened and we withdrew the case from court.”
“But on February 27, this year, my friend called that he saw my missing daughter, Suruyatu, at Urban Day Grammar School at Ola-Ogun, Ibadan. Immediately, I ordered my wife to go to the school and that she should take along a photograph of our daughter as at when she was declared missing. On February 28, my wife went to the school with the picture to identify her and she went to meet with the principal and told her that her missing daughter had been found in the school.”
But that only led to more confusion, as the principal invited the other couple, Alhaji and Alhaja Ganiyu Oladapo, and said the case was beyond his power.
“I had to call my lawyer and we quickly went to the Gbagi Police Station to report the incident. The police invited the other couple, who also claimed that they were the biological parents of Suruyatu,” Timothy Oladapo said. Also speaking, Alhaji Ganiyu Oladapo told Daily Sun that he was a retired staffer of the Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN) and that he lived at Ola Ogun area of Ibadan. He said his wife was delivered of a baby girl, who they named Surayatu on October 25, 2007, adding that the baby girl was delivered in his backyard.
“My daughter, Surayatu Oladapo, started from IDC Primary School, Gbagi, where she had her primary education. I have eight children and all of them are alive. Suruyatu is the last born. I was the one who took her to Urban Day Grammar School at Ola-Ogun on Old Ife Road, Ibadan. The school building is three buildings to my house.
“On February 28, this year, I got information that a woman came to her school and claimed that she was the biological mother of my daughter and that she came with a picture to identify her.
“I was shocked,” he said. “Later, the police from Gbagi came to arrest me. The police also went to her primary school to find out whether she attended the school or not and they found out that her records were there.
The police went to my house and they asked my neighbours to find out whether I was the biological father of the girl and my neighbours testified that I was the father. They went to three buildings beside my house and inquired whether the child belonged to me and the people said yes.
“On March 1, I quickly went to call my Imam, who came for the naming of my daughter and who named her Suruyatu. My Imam went to Gbagi Police Station to write his own statement.”
Also speaking, the girl at the centre of the story, Suruyatu, told Daily Sun that “I am telling you now that Alhaji Ganiyu Oladapo is my biological father. I was in my class on February 28 when my classmates called me out and said some people were looking for me. A woman asked me if I was Suruyatu and I said yes. She told me that I was a missing girl and I couldn’t understand what she meant. Later, the principal of our school called me and asked me some questions and I told him that I was staying with my parents.”
When this reporter visited the Urban Day Grammar School, one of the senior teachers, who didn’t want his identity revealed because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said Suruyatu Oladapo was a bonafide student of the school. The Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), State CID, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Mr. Galanchi Dasuki, told the reporter that the police had started investigation into the matter.
He said the case was transferred to the State CID from Gbagi Police Station. “We have invited the two couples and we have heard from them. We have also held talks with the victim, Suruyatu Oladapo,” he explained.
The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Indabawa, said the police were aware of the controversies over who the biological parents of Suruyatu were. Indabawa said the victim, Suruyatu, had been placed in police custody at the State CID Iyaganku “to enable us conclude our investigation. We have sent the parties to the University College Hospital Ibadan for DNA test to know the real biological parents of Suruyatu Oladapo.”
He advised both couples to exercise restraint until the conclusion of the investigation by the police.