Sorrow and anguish has continued to prevail, palpably, at the home of the Nwawuikes in Ikorodu, a suburb of Lagos state following the mysterious disappearance of their daughter, Cynthia Amarachi, 25, after she boarded a vehicle from Ibadan to Lagos to spend weekend with her parents on March 15, 2019. The political science graduate of University of Lagos who was undergoing her National Youth Service in Akure, Ondo state was said to have boarded a commercial vehicle at Iwo road, the penultimate day, and even exchanged pleasantries with her friends in Akure before the vehicle took off. However, her expectant friends who looked forward to hearing from her after arriving her parent’s home in Ikorodu, Lagos, safely, were astounded when consistent calls to her telephone did not elicit any response.
In trace of parents
Her deeply worried colleagues resorted to facebook to trace her parents and, luckily,, they succeeded. Similarly, the shocking news of her disappearance from her friends triggered off serious tension in the family of six that spent all their savings to train her in school. Her mother, Mrs. Constance Nwawike, a primary school teacher who spoke about the anguish the family is going through narrated her story in tears. “On the fateful day, 15th of March, 2019, I called my daughter’s number but it was switched off. I thought it was network. I didn’t call again. On Monday, I called the number again but no response. I continued for three days without response. I then alerted my husband. It brought tension on everybody in the family.
The entire household were in tears and even my younger daughter expressed surprise that her senior sister, Cynthia, did not wish her well on her birthday which took place that weekend. Suddenly, somebody called from her service centre and said that they were looking for her. Before I got the news, it was on a Friday, a week after that 15th. The state Coordinator also called and reported that they didn’t see her after she travelled home. Shocked at the unfolding drama, I also informed them that she did not return to our home at Ikorodu. I made further enquiry, the Coordinator said her friend, also a corp member told them that she travelled to meet us in Lagos and since then, she has been calling her number without reply. I asked the man to give me the lady’s number. I talked to the lady and she said that she has been trying to reach me. In fact, that Saturday, I wasn’t myself. I went to Ikorodu police station and reported the case. They said that I should go to Ibadan because the lady made it known that she took Ibadan -Iwo road and when she got a vehicle going to Ikorodu straight, that they had conversation. She told her that she has boarded a bus going to Ikorodu and her friend said she wished her safe trip. Since then, she hasn’t seen her and she hasn’t heard from her.
Trip to Osun
I went to Osun where she is serving. The head teacher there told me the same story. I know my daughter. What actually happened was that my daughter called her to say that she had boarded bus coming to Ikorodu straight and she asked her about the fare which she said N1,200 and since then, she has been trying her number because she agreed calling her when she gets home . Since then my daughter has not called her and she has been calling too but she didn’t get her. Since then I have been trying my possible best, even we have gone as far as consulting anti kidnapping squad and they told us that they have tracked her number at Kano. Anti kidnapping unit told me later that they made arrest and I asked how far but the policemen there kept on posting me. Last week, I called them but they said that they will call me back but they didn’t call me back .I also reported the case in Osun state police command. They later invited me for interview but when I got there, they said I should connect them with the anti kidnapping unit investigating the matter in Lagos which I did only for the police in Osun to say that they have been trying the telephone number of their colleagues in anti kidnapping unit, Lagos without success. All my pleas to them to intensify efforts and locate my missing daughter fell on deaf ears. In fact, at a stage, the police in Osun told me point blank that their counterparts in Lagos do not want to relate with them over the case.
Tears flow freely
(In tears, she continued) I kept on asking my missing daughter’s friend called Yetunde if there was any quarrel, does anybody visit them, she said no. I have tried every possible thing I can do up till now since 15th of March this year, I have not seen my daughter. She is 25 years. How would you describe your daughter? “She is very cool , she is not a wayward type, she doesn’t go out unless I tell her to go out.” Aside the police, did you make any other effort?
Trip to churches
“I went to churches, all the churches I have visited, they will be telling me that she is alive.” What are you suspecting? “Actually, I don’t know because when she was coming, she didn’t call me. The state coordinator also told me that it is not in their character to restrict any child going home on weekend, if it is during the day that she would have filled form, now it was during the weekend. So, they don’t know what to say but I don’t suspect anybody because since she went to Osun, she had visited us at least twice. I don’t see her with any friend.” Any boyfriend? “No, she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Because she schooled in UNILAG and most times, she comes to my school near her school, most times she comes home and stay at home.”
What do you think should be done now? “I am asking for help, to just look for her. I called the line on the 4th of June last month and the line went through but the person did not answer. I sent a message. The message was, ‘ please anybody, if you know that you are a child of God and you are in possession of my daughter, please, release the child for the sake of God.”
In his comment, factional Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress and uncle to the missing Corp member, Chief Joe Ajaero lamented that he had spent fortunes trying to trace her whereabouts without success.
Confusion, sorrow envelopes family
“The entire family have been in confusion and sorrow after my nephew, Cynthia, disappeared mysteriously. After we received the sad news, her mother went round all the motor parks; we went to hospitals, mortuaries without any trace. So, the matter continued and we decided to take it up with the police. We took it to the Anti-kidnap squad in Lagos. When they went for operation in some areas, they got some link based on the people who are still using her lines, they went there and made some arrests, about 2 or 3 suspects were arrested. They arrested them in one of the forests in Ogun State. They took them to their office, I wouldn’t know what happened between them and higher authorities and they were released. Then, her second number, the person did not remove her SIM card, the person was still making calls with her number and it was traced to Kano. We got across the anti kidnapping squad in Kano and after some efforts, the details they gave us was not encouraging at all. Some of the guys in Lagos again had to go to Kano to join them. After some days, the man was still using the SIM to call and up till now, the man didn’t show up and the authorities have not gone beyond this up to this moment. It is a case that kept the family disorganized because we don’t know whether she is dead or alive. And the issue now is why the police could not take this matter serious that is my problem although some of the police chaps who are working on the IT side were able to actually trail the areas where the people using those lines are but beyond that, nothing has happened. We have prayed and we have done everything humanly possible without success. Cynthia was posted to Taraba State but she redeployed because of insecurity and that was how it ended A very friendly, very honourable, I have never seen a lovely chap as that chap , you cannot say she has any disagreement with anybody that’s why up to this moment, everybody is still praying that she should be found.”
Investigations carried out by Crime Guard unearthed details of efforts made by the police to trace the missing corp member. Police sources at the anti-Kidnapping Unit, in Surulere, Lagos intimated that after the report was made, they worked on two telephone numbers belonging to the victim and three suspects were arrested inside a thick forest hugely inhabited by Fulani herders in Ogumakin, a boundary between Ogun and Oyo states. According to sources, the three suspects who are soft targets were the father of the main target, his wife and sister. They were brought back to Lagos for further investigation. They were later granted bail to reliable sureties because they are not their main target.
Trip to Kano
Sources said that when the detectives came back to Lagos to work on the victim’s second number which was earlier not accessible, they discovered that it was going through and they tracked it to a town called Rijazaki in Kano state where a girl suspected to be the girlfriend to the main target was arrested. The girl reportedly interacted with the main target who claimed to be in Kastina state on phone in the presence of detectives and he told her to meet him at a nearby town called Rijaremi in Kastina state. Unfortunately, when they all got there, they could not arrest the target as he failed to show up as expected. While they were still with the female suspect, a human right group quickly intervened insisting that police cannot continue to detain her by proxy. Based on that, the detectives now handed the female suspect over to the leader of the town they call Mai Angwa after making a video recording of their activities with the suspect on the condition that he should produce her anytime her attention was needed by the police.
It was learned that they handed over a copy of the video recording to the missing corp member’s uncle and kept one for their use. Sources further said that the detectives laid ambush in the town for days expecting to arrest the main target without success prompting their return back to Lagos. Before returning home, they also contacted Police Tactical Squad in Kano and after briefing them, the unit assured that they will continue to monitor the target. Unfortunately, more than five months after, detectives in all the formations involved in the search have been unable to locate the whereabouts of the corp member, dead or alive.