In April 2010 a Nigerian family was scared and scarred for life by the appearance of police at their temporary accommodation in North London. At first they did not quite understand what was going on and thought that a mistake had been made. Unfortunately it was no mistake because it later transpired that they have been set up for persecution by a notorious local authority that is known for their catalogue of failures some of which have led to the death of innocent children.
Until the couple’s children were taken away, no one visited them to check, supervise or investigate the way they raised their children and and no school, doctor or any other third party. Frankly speaking based on information that I have been provided by the family there was no problem needing any one’s attention or action. There was therefore no need for any Social service visits. The only contact not brush they have had with Social Services was when they were advised to approach them for social housing. They never ever thought that this would be the beginning of their persecution by the Local Authority. They now believe that the Local authority operates a target system where a certain number of children must be placed in care and some adopted annually or face their budget cut. So her children being beautiful and bright may have fitted the bill. They also have a suspicion that a certain star who is said to be suffering from depression after giving evidence against them at future hearing had interest in adopting their children. Therefore the intervention in their family was an attempt to steal to order and meet their fostering and adoption statistics.
In their minds and as I understand it, the only problem any middle class snob or person may assume that they may have had is that of poverty and lack of immigration status which meant that the family had to lie low while trying to sort out their situation which is not much different from that of many ethnic minority foreigners in the UK. Since poverty which knows no race, tribe, gender or religion is not a crime and many British families in today’s Britain due to the recession are living below poverty lines, the case of the Musas was not unique and if anything at all should have been done, the family should have been given support under the National assistance Act.
Sadly this local authority had an agenda and that agenda was inspired by the attempt to complain against their misconduct by an innocent but sadly bold fearless African woman of Igbo extraction and they could not let things slip out of their control. In order to silence her and continue to rule the roost as recklessly as they are known to do when targeting innocent families and turning a blind eye on the real people needing investigation and punishment, they targeted that which is most important to them; their children.
On the day in question, day suddenly became a very dark night for the expectant mother who was pregnant for her 6th child, her husband and their five young children. All the very bright children some of whom have already been classified as gifted children by their schools were taken into care and an application for a care order was made by the Local Authority.
Some of the grounds as I remember which forced the family judge to grant their application included but not limited the following:
- The couple’s 9 year old eldest daughter had written a letter which she was alleged to have thrown down through their front grass full front garden asking for help as their mum was unable to care and provide for them. Funny enough one version of their account was that the letter was found by a passer by and another by a neighbour who the couple believe may have been planted there for the execution of their plan. Added to this unfounded and highly embellished story were that
- The woman was a prostitute who was making out and conducting her business with clients in front of their children and they had a witness who could attest to this claim
- The children were indeed not the couples and could have been trafficked from all over the world. There was therefore need to protect them while the local authority traced their parents
- The mother was suffering from epilepsy which meant that she was unable to look after them. She also had had surgery which further impedes her ability to care for her children
- The woman was raised by her mother and her step dad somewhere in the UK. Her step dad abused and given her portions of opium. This means that she was a troubled child and now woman who is likely to abuse her children too.
- The father of the children was missing and other lies which I cannot remember.
- Other lies were also peddled but could not be substantiated. Police records and Doctor’s records exonerated her.
- In my view these allegations may have been made against someone and worked so they saw it as an easy way to silence this woman who is a preacher and woman of God.
On the basis of these allegations the judge was outraged and granted the application warning the couple that human trafficking is a serious offence suggesting that they were likely to get into bigger troubles if the allegations were found to be true.
The judge ordered a DNA on the five children. As many people know, DNA can be done within less than 48 hours. The Local authority took nearly six months to provide reports to the court. The parents suspected that this was a tactical attempt to keep the children in long term care and lead the court to believe that since they had been separated from their parents for a long time there was no need uniting them with their parents as they would have settled with their foster parents and any attempt to return them to their parent would unsettle them. This approach which I hear many local authorities rely on to break families is one for full consideration on its own as a topic. I cannot understand how a child could live with his or her parents for 9 years and in care for 6 months and returning he or she to their parents will unsettle them. I wonder how six months separation could be more important or effectual than a whole 9 years.
During this period the couple had the right to visit their children in care. This was very difficult as the children have been placed in care out of London and totally away from their cultural heritage which on its own would have been quite traumatic for them. Every attempt to return them to London failed and the couple met with obstacles as the Local Authority though under a duty to cover their travel costs did everything they could to frustrate them either by not sending the travel warrants on time or not telling them that the children would not be at the meeting centre to see them.
On one such frustrating day the mother was distressed over not seeing her children and having to return to London not knowing what had happened to their children. On her way back to London she fell into labour and had to call the ambulance to take her to the nearest hospital. The baby was born and in line with the Local Authority’s order to the couple, they notified them of the child’s birth. Woe and behold the same local authority sent their tissue of lies to the police who turned up at the dead of night and wrenched off the child from the poor woman. The child was given to a carer in London and the Local authority ordered to make satisfactory arrangement for her breast feeding as that is the pattern in the family. The woman believes in child friendly breast feeding and had written a book on the subject. This was again badly frustrated by well laid fake bureaucratic rulings and ended prematurely.
Eventually the long awaited DNA result turned up under pressure from lawyers for the family and campaigners. The Local Authority in an effort to continue to deceive the court and create further problems for the family informed the couple that one of the results was inconclusive meaning that the child was not that of the father. A supporter offered to pay for a second opinion but the Local Authority then said that it was a mistake as all indeed matched and they are their children. Before this sudden U turn the man had already been called into a room separately and asked what he wanted to do as it is now clear that his wife had not been faithful and he is not the child’s father. He said he did not believe them and wanted second opinion. This then failed and put in disarray their ploy to continue to deceive the court and cause a breakdown of the couple’s marriage which would have jeopardised the bigger case of unlawful separation of the family or as I often think about it licensed abduction or kidnapping of very innocent children.
They then had no choice than to accept that they have been found out and the children were not trafficked as deviously claimed. They could not provide evidence to prove any other of the above listed allegations. Perhaps believing that their vindictive case against the couple was on the brink of catastrophic collapse with dire consequences for their reputation and competence as a caring authority, they quickly obtained an order prohibiting professional study of the alleged window letter by a hand writing expert. Bizarrely an order was granted by the court and the use of this crucial evidence in chief for the vindication of the couple totally thwarted.
One would have thought that as the Local Authority had failed to prove their case on any or all the ground, that would have been the end of the case. No, they were not letting go because they were perhaps afraid of a potential claim against them which would have opened a flood gate of claims by parents who have felt the heavy weight of their arrogant destruction of families.
To protect jobs instead of families and children further allegations were trumped up and sold to the court that for some reason appeared to have fallen under their catastrophic spell and fell for it accepting all additional grounds for the persecution of this family to the claims while the main evidence, the letter remained untouchable. Some journalists who tried to report on the case were bound and gagged with court orders and had no choice than to watch while gross injustice was perfected against the young children and their parents.
It is hard to understand how the Local authority breached and ignored so many court orders and got away with it. Along the line a sensible judge ordered the return of their youngest child to the couple. This obviously panicked the Local Authority forcing them to embark on a campaign of deceit and calumny. The child was eventually taken away from them and placed in care again on the unfounded allegation that they fed or injected her with opium. The couple say that the toxicology report said ND meaning nothing detected. The couple were tried and jailed on the allegation that they fed the girl opium the same thing which they said was given to the mother by a stepfather that never existed. For information the woman was born in Nigeria. Her parents are still alive and together and had never been to the UK. So that allegation was totally without basis and malicious in every respect.
Just before the couple went to prison the woman was pregnant again and had their 7th child while in prison. The baby was taken away from her without mother and child even being given the opportunity to bond a little. That child and the one before him are now placed in the care of a family who wishes to adopt them.
Although the court made an order that the children and their older siblings must stay in touch the Local Authority as usual in flagrant breach of that order severed links between them because they have settled arrangements to give them up for adoption.
The plan to give up the two innocent children for adoption in total disregard of extant court orders is yet another overt evidence of this Local Authority constantly attempting to traverse justice and reinforce their usual practice of arrogation of power to themselves through the reckless mindlessness of a few unscrupulous Social workers within this troubled local authority. They used competent and incompetent legal professionals that chose money over human life, good judgement and justice to actaulise their goals. The tyrannical attitude of social workers, their managers in the conduct of the case from the beginning along with the constant deliberate and sometimes negligent conduct of professionals who turn a blind eye over crucial evidence was significantly insightful leading many people to wonder whether there is one law for some people and another for others.
As I watched and followed the case I began to believe that for this troubled Local Authority there is nothing like justice. It’s more about job protection than child protection. This travesty of justice by a local authority which for many years has exhibited and continues to exhibit total incompetence and prejudice in matters concerning families and children is one which makes me believe that the serious review of the practices of Social Service and their Social Workers is now long overdue.
There is also urgent need to review and report on the effectiveness and possible conflict of interest between local authorities and certain experts they use in family law matters. What was quite outstanding is that although at the time of the unlawful interference in the family of this couple the children many of whom were born in the UK with one or two in South Africa, none of them have visited Nigeria and all speak English. However, a Nigerian medical expert reported that the children informed him that several languages were spoken in the family and they believed it to be a Northern Nigerian language. It is not doubtful that he would have figured out from the couple’s family name that the man or both of them are from Northern Nigeria. Sadly his heavily compromised mind beleaguered his conscience so much that he could not see the porosity of his report which meant that any sensible fair minded reader would immediately see that it has been fabricated in order to lend support to the false allegation against the family. Attempts to query this did not go well as it was ignored. There were other catastrophic failures.
Within the control of this local authority many parents are dying in silence because they are afraid to speak out out of fear of what has happened to this family and many others. Those who have spoken like the Musa’s become victims of their own voices and quest for justice for all. They have therefore been permanently silenced.
However, Wednesday 16th April just a few days after the 4th anniversary of the beginning of their travails, God came to their defense in the form of an incorruptible judge who saw the case for all its failures. He was outraged and ordered that this power drunken grossly incompetent Local Authority must write letters to the children explaining their failings so that the children will see them when they grow up. I hear that he was unable to impose sanctions and felt that his hands are tied in respect of the pending application for adoption of the two young children.
Though his hands may be tied legally, he has done extremely well by standing up against the oppressive conduct of this local authority and recognised the public interest consequences of this case. As a result he has lifted the ban on press reporting which has meant that I am able to speak and write about the case. I am hoping that many people who know about this case will add their voices to the call for a total review of the conduct of the case and public inquiry without delay.
In my mind this local authority has dragged otherwise averagely respectable British justice to the mud and there is need to clear the air on any matter which remains unclear to the ordinary and professional mind.
Justice Holman’s ruling is an historical landmark which one day may change the face of British family law courts and child protection law ending the Mafia style powers of social services and reignite trust in the system.
Until then every parent especially of ethnic minority and in particular Africans must do in Rome as the Romans do and ensure that they seek guidance on child care in the UK, know the difference between neglect, abuse, chastisement of children, loving and disciplining a child the way our parents did which has sustained and made us the strong resilient people we are.
Any one who feel that they may be affected by this type of behaviour must seek legal advice or contact the writer via www.jennycokafor.com. I will do my best to assist and make appropriate referrals.