The parents of Chibugo Onwekwe, a three-year-old pupil at Gospel Nursery and Primary International School, Ahoda, Rivers State, are worried about her safety after she was abducted.
The nursery 1 pupil was reportedly abducted around 8am on February 28, 2017, shortly after she and her elder brother were dropped off by their mother a few metres from the school gate.
It was learnt that the abductor, who was said to be on a motorcycle, had approached the siblings while they were heading towards the school gate.
He reportedly gave the victim’s brother, eight-year-old Chibuke, N50 and asked him to buy a snack at a nearby shop, while Chibugo stayed behind.
He had whisked the girl away before Chibuke returned to the spot with the snack.
Our correspondent gathered that the primary 3 pupil went to his class, thinking that his sister had also gone to her class.
Chibugo’s class teacher was said to have noticed that she was absent around 11am and went to Chibuke’s class to ask after her.
The victim’s father, Chibueze Onwekwe, told our correspondent on the telephone on Saturday that in the course of their search, a woman said she saw Chibugo being taken away on a motorcycle.
He said, “On that day, her mother had dropped her and Chibuke off at a junction a few metres away from the school gate and headed for her place of work. That is how she had been doing.
“Chibuke said a man sent her to buy a snack, but when he returned, he didn’t see the man and his sister. It was around 11am that Chibugo’s teacher discovered that she was not in the class. When the teacher met with Chibuke in his class, he narrated what happened.
“A parent said while she was taking her child to the school that morning, she saw Chibugo on a motorcycle being taken away. She said she (Chibugo) waved at her child and that she thought the man was her relation.”
Chibueze said he reported the incident at the Ahoda Police Division, adding that a man, who claimed to know where Chibugo was being held, contacted him on the telephone and demanded N300,000.
“The man sent me a message on the day she was kidnapped. He said he had vital information about my daughter and that I should pay him N300,000. I didn’t reply to his message that day.
“When I contacted him the next day, he suspected that I had informed the police. After I begged and assured him that I would not involve the police, he said I should pay N50,000 to track those who kidnapped my daughter.
“Since I sent the money into the bank account he provided, he has stopped taking my calls,” he added.
The victim’s mother, Evelyn, a teacher at a neighbouring school, said she was at work when her children’s teacher informed her about the incident.
She said, “The junction where I dropped them is a stone’s throw from the school and a lot of pupils usually pass through the place. I was surprised when I got a call that Chibugo was not in school.
“I rushed to the school and discovered that it was true. She is in nursery 1 and will be four years old in two months.”
The victim’s brother, Chibuke, said the abductor was dark in complexion and wore a black and white uniform.
“The man was on a motorcycle. He gave me N50 to buy a snack. By the time I came back, I didn’t see the man and my sister again,” he added.
Calls made to the school’s phone number, which the parents gave to our correspondent, did not go through.
The Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, promised to get back to our correspondent with comment on the incident, but had yet to do so as of press time.