It was pure drama that took place recently at the Independent Investigative Panel on human rights violations by the disbanded SARS on Wednesday following revelations by a clinical pathologist that the 16 markers used in analysing DNA samples for contending paternal or maternal issues showed that “Esther Tanko is not the biological mother of Elijah Tanko.”
The test result has further corroborated an earlier DNA test conducted by the Nigeria police that Esther Tanko was not genetically similar to Elijah.
A statement issued on Wednesday evening by the Deputy Director (Media and External Linkages) in the National Human Rights Commission, Fatimah Agwai, said, a pathologist with Synlab, Chukwukah Isuajah,made the revelation to the panel when he read the analysis of the test carried out.
Presenting the result before the Chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd.), the pathologist stated that bucal swap samples were collected from both parties.
In his testimony, Isuajah stated that in analysing the samples 16 markers were used in analysing the similarities between persons.
Reading the result to the 11 man panel, Isuajah said, “The genotype of child and mother did not share similarities in 9 out of the 16 markers.
“Therefore the alleged mother is excluded as the mother of the child”, Isuajah concluded in his testimony.
After his presentation, one of the panellist Dr. Uju Agomoh, inquired from Isuajah the margin of error in DNA testing, to which he responded that there is 0.001 per cent error of margin.
“The pre-analytical has to do with collection of samples, that if the source of sample is not tainted then you can be sure of your result”, Isuajah said.
He added, “We also have what we call quality control in DNA testing, this enables the pathologist know the sex of those ,whose samples were taken by the lab, once that is correct, then the result can be said to be 99.9% accurate”.
On Octobe 18, 2021 the panel rejected the DNA result presented by the police and directed the National Human Rights Commission to conduct an an independent DNA test on Elijah.
The NHRC had constituted a four-man committee headed by Nduka Ezenwugo, a Deputy Director of the Women and Children Department, over the matter.
The committee wrote a letter to the Officer in Charge of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team requesting that the IPO in the matter, Desmond Abella, to produce the child for the collection of samples for the DNA test.
The commission informed the Diagnostic Centre, Synlab, of its intention to use their facilities and that a relevant professional from the diagnostic centre be made available to present and interpret the result of the DNA test to the panel.
On November 3 2021, members of the committee, IPO, petitioner and child Diagnostic centre.
Earlier, Rosemary Diakeocha, another claimant to the maternity of Elijah through her counsel, Kevin Okoro, pleaded to be joined as party to the petition, though not a party to the petition abinitio.
The panel rejected the request and directed she remain as an observer.
After the delivery of DNA report which did not favour the petitioner, Kevin Okoro persuaded the panel to hand over the boy to Rosemary Diakeocha since the earlier DNA test conducted by the police revealed that she is the biological mother.
The panel in its verdict gave its ruling following the disclosure by Isuajah of the DNA result which excluded Esther Tanko as the mother.
The matter has been referred to the NHRC for appropriate action.