An auto mechanic, Fatai Azeez and his wife, Suliyat, are currently going through every parent’s nightmare – that their children could be snatched right in their home and held incommunicado.
Yet, this is exactly what is going on with this couple, who have waited patiently by the phone in the last one week expecting a call that has yet to come.
Fatai told our correspondent that he has lost his bearing just expecting a call that would tell them what to do to retrieve their children after an apprentice, identified simply as Grace, abducted them less than 24 hours after she resumed work in Suliyat’s shop in Okokomaiko area of Lagos State.
The children – Farouk (4) and Kafayat (6) – were taken while their mother was away from home to attend a hairdressers’ meeting.
The apprentice was said to have left with the children under the pretext of going out to buy food and asking the children to accompany her.
Unfortunately, the Azeezs have very scanty information about the apprentice.
In fact, Suliyat said all she knew about the girl, whose age she put at about 20, was that she lived with a friend (whom she does not know) in the area.
“The girl came to my shop on Wednesday and said she wanted to learn hairdressing. I asked who her guarantor was because she said she came alone. She said she stayed with a friend in the area and she would have come with her, but the friend had gone to work,” she said.
On Thursday, “Grace” started work in Suliyat’s shop and on Friday, she had disappeared with the children.
Fatai told our correspondent that the matter had so far devastated his wife that he feared for her sanity.
“My wife is acting like a mad woman currently and only God would help us. I am just struggling to stay sane. I don’t know what to think. I don’t even know the girl. My wife said she is like Delta Igbo,” he said.
In his desperation, Fatai said many spiritualists are giving him hope that the children were still safe.
“They told me the children are still around and have not been harmed. I got a call from some people who have earlier seen our report in the newspaper that some children were found at the Seme border, but when I got there, my children were not among the four children. What I don’t understand now is why we have not received any call from whoever is keeping our children,” he said.
The couple have given statements at the Ojo Police Division but said they have heard nothing from the police.
But Fatai said he is apprehensive about the children’s health.
“My children rarely leave the house and I don’t know what could be happening to them right now,” he said.
The spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Dolapo Badmos, has said the police are still investigating the children’s abduction and working on every lead to recover them.
The case is reminiscent of the 2015 abduction of the two children of Mr. and Mrs. Orekoya by their housemaid in Lagos.
The children were later recovered after the abductor and his gang demanded the payment of a N13m ransom.