2 families fight over child ownership in Plateau

Two families – one in Chip, near Pankshin, and the other from Doka, in Shendam, both of Plateau, are locked in a battle over the ownership of a boy whose age is not certain.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the struggle began on Friday, May 12, when the boy, who gave his name as Longji, was found wondering around Chip, by some good Samaritans.
A security personnel, craving anonymity, told NAN in Pankshin on Thursday that when the child was found, Mr and Mrs. Augustine, from Dyes village in Chip, claimed ownership.
“Augustine then reported the matter to the Pankshin Police Division the next day, May 13, claiming that his boy, who got missing sometimes in October 2010, had been found.
“But when the Police began their investigation to ascertain where the boy had been in the last seven years, he led them to the second family in Lamese quarters of Doka District of Shendam Local Government of Plateau.
“This second family of Mr and Mrs. Kihkat Dat claimed that the boy was theirs. They claimed that he ran away from home some days earlier, when he was being disciplined by his mother, Mary.
“Mary told the police that the boy was 13 years old and her 4th child. She said that he stole from her and ran away from home to escape punishment,” the source said.
The source, however, said that the Augustine family had debunked Dat’s claim that Longji was 13.
“The Augustine family has told the police that that the boy is 10 years old and has been missing since October 2010, when he was three years old.
“The family has also claimed that it reported the matter to the police when the boy got missing in October 2010,” the security source told NAN.
Contacted, Mr Tyopev Terna, Public Relations Officer of the Plateau Police Command, confirmed the incident.
“The case is being thoroughly investigated; the boy is in the custody of Mr and Mrs. Augustine, who first reported the matter to the police, but we are still investigating to ascertain his (boy’s) true biological parents.
“We are trying to establish the claims of the two families by checking our records to confirm if indeed they reported the disappearance of the boy from their homes.
“We are on top of the situation and, by God’s grace, we shall come out with the real and true biological parents of that child, ’’ Terna stated.

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