The parents of two abducted sisters – Chikamso Okpara aged two, and four-year-old Chinaza Okpara – say they have not heard any positive news from the police about the kids’ whereabouts since their abduction on May 14, 2016. They said they had explored all avenues to trace the abductor, identified only as Rose, to no avail and urged the police to ensure that their children were rescued safely. Rose reportedly fled with the children around 12pm penultimate Saturday shortly after their mother, Ijeoma Okpara, left the shop to buy foodstuffs at a market – a few metres away from the shop on Cemetery Street, in the Ajegunle area of the state. The incident happened four days after Rose enrolled as an apprentice hairdresser.
Ijeoma, a stylist, had left the children in the care of Rose and a resident, Franca, only to return 15 minutes later and discover that Rose had fled with the kids. Her husband, Emeka Okpara, told PUNCH Metro on Thursday that except the assurance he received from his pastor that the kids were safe, the police had yet to give the family any positive development after the incident was reported at the Ajeromi Police Division.
He said, “We have searched for them. We have made reports and people have helped us to circulate their pictures on the social media. We have been told by men of God that the children are safe and are being kept within the state by the apprentice. We pray every day for their protection and safe return. “I spoke with the policeman investigating the case. He said no progress yet and that I should be prayerful. I don’t know the mode of their operation, but they should make more efforts to rescue them. Those are the only children we have. I am very disturbed and it has been difficult handling my emotion and that of my wife. Nobody has contacted us for ransom so far.”
The distraught wife, Ijeoma, said she was surprised that the apprentice could abduct her children. She said, “The shop is in front of our house and is owned by a woman. I only work there to assist the owner. On Tuesday, May 10, Rose came and said she wanted to learn hairdressing. I told her to come back as the owner of the shop that will decide on her acceptance was not around. She begged me to allow her start immediately, saying she was idle at home. I eventually accepted after much pleading.
“The customer I was making hair for on that Saturday said she wanted to pick something at home, so I had to take a break. I decided to quickly go to the market to buy foodstuffs. The market is near the shop and I didn’t spend more than 15 minutes before I returned. “On getting to the shop, Franca said Rose went with my children to buy something immediately I left. I became apprehensive when she did not return early and that was how we began to search for her and the kids. We went to Turner Street which she gave as her address, but we could not find her.”
The Lagos State Police Command, however, said it was on the trail of the apprentice and promised to get her arrested. The command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos said, “The police are on the trail of the abductor. Efforts are ongoing to rescue the children and apprehend the culprit.”