No fewer than three boys have been declared missing in Ilaje Quarters in the Olodi Apapa area of Lagos State. The missing boys, who were of school age–four-year-old Nliam Tobechukwu,Olanrewaju Obazuaye, 3, and Sunday David, 4,–were reported missing at separate times at the Tolu Police Division. After the latest incident which occurred on Friday, March 25, 2016, residents suspected that there was a syndicate monitoring their children and stealing them without arousing suspicion. The boys went missing while playing in front of their houses. The first victim, Olanrewaju, was discovered missing on Sunday, November 22, 2015, while playing in front of his father’s house on John Ladipo Street.
In December 2015, David went missing on the same street. Also, in February 2016, another unidentified boy was reported to have gone missing on Ayorinde Street. On March 25, 2016, Tobechukwu went missing while playing in front of his father’s rented apartment on Iheanacho Street. All the missing boys lived in Ilaje Quarters in the Olodi Apapa area. Residents were now living in fear as the police had yet to find any of the missing boys and had yet to make any arrest.
Tobechukwu’s father, Nliam Cyprian, from Imo State, told Punch Metro that he had gone to all the police stations under the Area B Command, Apapa, to write statements on his missing boy. He said, “It was around 4.30pm on that Friday. I was not at home. I was at a football viewing centre. Tobechukwu and his siblings were playing with their mummy in front of our house. When his mother went in and came out some 30 minutes later, she discovered the boy had gone missing.
“His elder brother, Uzor, said he left him in front of the house when he went to run an errand. It was around 6pm that my wife called to inform me on the telephone. She reported the matter at the Tolu Police Division the same day. “We live in a storeyed-building and Tobechukwu had gone to neighbouring streets in the past to play with friends. He is in the kindergarten. He is the fourth of my five children. I have also gone to the police stations at Orile, Amukoko and Trinity, as well as the Area B Command, Apapa.
“A lot of people know him because he is friendly. I have also been to the state Police Public Relations Department, Ikeja, and it sent a signal out on the incident.”
Olanrewaju’s father, Zion Obazuaye, said that his boy was also playing in front of the house when he was discovered missing. He said, “I was not around on that day. I went to the Apapa area to collect some money from a friend. It was around 5pm that my wife called me on the telephone and said Olanrewaju was missing. He is just three.
“The boy was playing with other children. It was when the mother came out to bathe him and others and take them to church around 5pm that she discovered he was nowhere to be found. “The shocking thing is after the incident, about three similar incidents have occurred in this area. He is my second child. The mother is still disturbed.”
A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that there were some people in the community believed to be working for child abductors. He enjoined the police to beam their searchlights on Ilaje Quarters and unravel where the schoolboys were taken to.
He said, “There are some insiders in our area. The time of abduction is usually when the children are playing in front of their houses or when their parents must have gone out. We do not know who could be the informant for the abductors. “Within Ilaje Quarters, also known as James Mobolaji Johnson Quarters, child abduction has reached an unbearable peak. I expect the police to come to our area and investigate the cartel stealing our children.
“In March 2016, a woman took an apprentice, and three days later, she left her seven-month baby with the apprentice, who later escaped with the child.”