More than two years after losing two children to suspected kidnappers, joy has returned to the family of Fatai and Suliat Azeez, who have welcomed a set of triplets at their home on Aiyepe Avenue in the Okokomaiko area of Lagos State. A crowd of residents and well-wishers thronged the house, on Monday, to catch a glimpse of the babies.
The newborns, two girls and a boy, were given birth to on Thursday, February 28, 2019.
In November 2016, Suliat, who had a hairdressing workshop in the Okokomaiko area, had taken a new apprentice, who gave her name as Grace.
Grace, whose real name is Gladys Austin, had been asked to resume after promising to bring a guarantor the following day.
However, she was said to have tricked Suliat’s two children, Kafayat (six) and Farouk (four), and allegedly disappeared with them that same day.
Efforts by the family to locate the children had proved abortive.
However, in March 2017, the suspect was arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad for selling another child, identified as Oluwasemilore, to a ring of syndicates in Anambra, Abia and Enugu states.
Grace had been identified by Suliat and her neighbours during an identification parade by the police as the apprentice, who allegedly stole her children.
The suspect, however, denied abducting Suliat’s children, insisting that she did not know their whereabouts.
Frustrated, Suliat was said to have locked herself in the house and took a local insecticide, Sniper. H
She was, however, resuscitated and taken to her village near Ibadan, Oyo State, for medical attention.
The woman, again, attempted suicide in her village but was rescued.
Suliat also informed reporters present that she spent seven months in the village to recover from the shock of the missing kids before returning to Lagos.
The 35-year-old, who spoke to our correspondent while tending to one of the newborn babies, said her family went through hell during the period.
She said she burst into tears of joy when she was told that she had been delivered of the triplets.
In her words, she
“When the two children were kidnapped, we went to the SARS in Ikeja many times without any result. We also reported at the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan. We did everything we were asked to do. The police later asked us to return that they had found the suspect; we also identified her. They kept pushing us back and forth. They collected N50,000 from my husband. Later, they said the case file was missing. We spent a lot of money.
“I thought it was all over for me. I thought that I had no reason to live again since the children, who should be my future, were no more.
“That was why I took Sniper. But because God said it was not over for me and my time to die had not come, I did not die.
“When I returned from the village in January, I was advised to go back to my shop to reduce my worry. But by the time I returned, the landlord started making trouble with me. He gave me quit notice and even beat me up.
“We were recovering from that when we got information that our landlord had sold the house we were staying and we had just renewed our rent. It appeared that we would be homeless until my husband got this small place we are now managing.
“As you can see, everywhere is empty. We have sold all our property, including land, during this period. But God decided to surprise me.”
Suliat said she did not know that she would be delivered of triplets until she got to the labour room.
She added, “After I was delivered of the first child, we expected the placenta to come out. But I was told that it was another baby. And while we expected another placenta, they told me that it was another baby again. When the nurses announced that I had had three children, tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. My husband also started crying.
“I still have the hope that God will complete my joy by returning my lost children. I solicit the prayers of Nigerians that wherever my children may be, they will be found.”
Suliat’s sister, Bilikisu Omokeji, who spoke amidst sobs, described God as ‘Alapadupe’ (the one who gives room for praise even in tragedy).
“When I got the news of her delivery around 6.30am, I laughed and cried at the same time. How wonderful is this God! Over two years ago, people joined us in walking the streets as we cried around in search of our lost children. And now this year, he has turned our sorrow to joy. God took the two children and I know, Insha Allah, they will return home,” Bilikisu stated.
The children’s father, Fatai, said the family was in need of funds.
He appealed to Nigerians to support him and his wife.
“While I hope to be reunited with my missing children someday, I have accepted my fate. I believe nothing happens to any man without God’s knowledge. And He has vindicated me with these bundles of joy, which I never expected,” he added.