Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Beware! Rise in Child Kidnapping: 20 Children Aged 2-5 'Kdnapped in 3 Months in Lagos, Nigeria

Kidnapping has assumed a dangerous dimension in Lagos State, South-West Nigeria. It is no news that adults, affluent people are kidnapped and ransom demanded. A Pastor was recently Kidnapped right inside his church at Ikorodu area of Lagos State. Now there seem to be a trend in Kidnapping children in Lagos State. 

Recall that on Wednesday, July 20, around Beckleys Estate at Abule-Egba, a man forcefully snatched a little girl from her mother's grip as they were walking down the road. The abductor swiftly jumped on his bike and fled but was subsequently intercepted after the girls mum raised an alarm. 

The Nation newspaper reports that a family’s only child was lately abducted at Okokomaiko, a Lagos suburb, near Badagry. The victim is two-year-old Samuel Akpuafor (Jnr) who was born 10 years after his parents got married. 

The distraught parents said things have not been the same since his abduction. Residents have decried the rate of kidnappings in the community, seeking the government’s urgent action to stem the crime.

The Nation gathered that 20 children between ages two and five have disappeared in the last three months.
When two women were arrested in Okokomaiko for kidnapping, many parents took the pictures of their abducted children to the scene hoping to know their whereabouts from the suspects.

A resident, who gave his name as Chinedu, said many parents were now moving from one spiritual house to the other for intervention.

He said: “Children disappear here almost daily. The thing is disturbing. Some while they are going to or returning from school; others while playing and some are kidnapped even in their houses. People almost killed a woman who was caught during Sallah holiday. At first she confessed to the crime and people brought pictures of their missing children and were showing her whether she can identify them. She was taken to the Baale’s palace so that the angry crowd won’t kill her and the Baale called the police. But when they police came, the woman started acting as though she was insane. That was how parents were asked to bring N1,000 each so that a test can be conducted to ascertain her mental situation. But till now, we have not heard anything.”

Another resident, Sandra Onu, told The Nation that her Samuel Akpuafor (Jnr). was abducted while he was eating, adding that his mother almost died because of the incident.

“In May, my neighbour’s two-year-old son was kidnapped in their home while he was eating. He’s their only child and they had him 10 years after marriage. His mother almost lost her mind as a result of his disappearance. She was taken to the Southeast where she stayed for long before returning to Lagos. The woman has not been the same again. Something needs to be done to end this madness. How can other people give birth only for some wicked souls to steal their joys away? It is a very difficult thing to bear.”

The father, Samuel Akpuafor, said his world collapsed when his only child was kidnapped last May 19.
He said: “That boy is my everything; My mother, my father, everything. It is as if my heart was divided into two and one killed. I have not been able to concentrate. I have not been able to think straight. I just cannot understand how that was possible. It was around 12pm on May 19, when I got a call that they were looking for my son. They had just returned from Thursday prayers and my housemaid gave him potato to eat. He was eating the potato outside and the housemaid was with him.

“She said a woman came into the compound that she was pressed and she directed her to the restroom. After easing herself, she said the woman came back and told her she was waiting for someone. Being a small girl, she did not suspect anything. She left the woman and then went inside to do something while my son was still eating outside. But when she came out, she only saw the plate of potato without my son and the woman was gone as well.

“They started looking for him and did not see him.  That was how they called me. Since that time, no one knew how the woman took him away and no one saw him. I have gone to all the police stations in this area with his picture. I have also gone to the radio room but we have not seen him yet.

“I have been devastated since then. I have just been managing to survive. My wife too has been moving from church to church since she returned from the east. We are begging anyone with our son to bring him back. He’s the only child we have.”

Another parent, Ezindu Nwosu whose four-year-old son, Chibuzor, was kidnapped on June 24, while he was playing in front of his grandmother’s house, said more than 10 kids have gone missing in three weeks.
He said: “There have been more than 10 missing children in the past three weeks. The thing is very rampant in this area. My son’s disappearance is still a mystery. They usually go to my wife’s mother’s house which is behind Okoko market whenever they close from school. Then, when we are done with our day’s business, we come there and pick them up. On that day, they came back as usual and after eating, his older brother went to sleep, while himself and his sister were playing at an open space in-front of the house. It was around 5:30pm. And so, my daughter came to meet me at my wife’s shop, which is less than 10 minutes walk from my mother-in-law’s place. I told her to go and bring her brothers while I walked behind her. But when she got there, she could not find him. They looked everywhere and no one saw him. I got there and we started asking people and no one knew anything. That’s just how it happened. I have gone to the police station and reported. I have not been able to go to the market since then. All I want is to get my son back. We just want him back. We have been moving from church to church and they keep telling us he’s still alive. I am begging the government, police and even those who took him to bring him back to us.”