Family of missing corps member accuses police of negligence
• Investigation Is On-Going, Reply Police
Sorrow and anguish have continued to prevail at the home of the Nwawuike family in Ikorodu, an outskirt in Lagos State following the mysterious disappearance of their daughter, Cynthia Amarachi, 25, after she boarded a vehicle from Ibadan to Lagos to spend the weekend with her parents on March 15, 2019.
The political science graduate of the University of Lagos was undergoing her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in Akure, Ondo State. She was said to have boarded a commercial vehicle on Iwo Road 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 Lagos safely were astonished when consistent calls to her telephone did not trigger any response. Her worried colleagues resorted to Facebook to trace her parents and, luckily, they succeeded.
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 was going through, believes the police have not handled the case with the seriousness it deserves.
Narrating her story in tears, she said: “On the fateful day, March15, 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 send her a birthday wish, which took place that weekend.
“Suddenly, somebody called from her place of primary assignment 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.
“When I made further enquiries, the coordinator said her friend, also a corps 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.
“I went to Ondo where she is serving. The head teacher there told me the same story. Since then I have been trying my possible best. We have gone as far as consulting the anti-kidnapping squad and they told us that they made arrests. I have gone back to ask them how far but they kept on posting me.”
Nwawike lamented that all her efforts since March 15 to see her daughter have been to no avail. “I have not seen my daughter. She is 25 years. She is very cool; she is not a wayward type. I am asking for help to look for her. I called the line on June 4, last month and the line went through but the person did not answer.”
An uncle to the missing corps member and factional Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, lamented that the family had spent a lot of money trying to trace her whereabouts without success.
“The entire family has 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-Kidnapping 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 two or three 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 keeps the family disorganised 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 policemen who are working on the IT section 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.
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 herdsmen in Ogumakin, a boundary between Ogun and Oyo States.
According to sources, the three suspects who detectives said were the 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 the main target,” the source said.
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