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New Tenant Disappears With Neighbours’ Four Children In Abia



It was a sad moment last Saturday evening when three tenants in Umuahia, the Abia State capital realised that four of their children had been taken away by their new neighbour who just packed in three days earlier.

The tenants, all women, are Madam Ngozi Kingsley; Madam Ifeanyi Uduma, sister to Ngozi Kingsley and Madam Blessing Peter Obasi from Nwoke compound, Elugwu Nguzu Edda in Ebonyi State. They are all traders in Umuahia.

In separate interviews with PUNCH Metro, the women claimed that the suspected abductee, whose identity is yet to be known, packed into the building on Thursday, December 15 as a new tenant, along with another person said to be her sister, friend or an accomplice.

Our correspondent learnt that it was discovered that she packed in with only a camp gas, a 6-inch small foam and a mat, with a little bag suspected to be her dresses. They also said that they noted that while in the house, the two “mysterious” tenants only tied similar wrappers, an indication that they had few clothes with them.

“Within the first two days, they endeared themselves into the heart of the rest of their neighbours as women who love children by playing with them, buying them gifts as well as sending them on errands, and at a time, went to buy brooms and other items with one of the grown up children that later escaped abduction by the suspects”, one of the women said.

In her words, Madam Uduma said she treaded with caution not suspecting any foul intention by the suspect.

She said, “On one occasion, one of my children came out of the house of the suspects wearing a white cloth with red spots” which she said she quickly removed from the child and was queried by the suspects why she did so.

Uduma, who said she came into Umuahia from Ohafia this year, narrated that having been subjected to hardship in her home town, decided to relocate with her children to Umuahia to enable her sister, Ngozi Kingsley, to assist her with her fish business at local markets.

According to her, within the two days, the suspect and her friend cooked food and gave to the children who would playfully enter into the suspects’ room.

“That Saturday, she bought them drinks and gave them biscuits and latter gave them food to eat. The suspect also gave another tenant in the house food, and even me.

“Later, they dressed my last child with white cloth with red spots like flower. My child came to me excited to show me. I removed the cloth and dressed my child with her cloth and the woman came and asked me why I removed the cloth from my child. I told her that I wanted my child to wear my own cloth.

“Later, I saw her accomplice moving out with a sack bag with the clothes packed and the white ones on top and I asked her where she was going to. She said she wanted to go and buy things at the city centre while she had told another woman in the compound that she was going to give her sister clothes she bought for her. This one is a little slim while the main suspect is dark, fat and had bleaching marks on her legs.

“When the other one left, the fat one came out to where the children were playing that Friday evening, the children rallied around her, playing and demanding drinks. I left to fetch water and came back not to see them. I sent someone to go and know where the woman took the children and they were nowhere to be seen. That was how I started looking for them.”

The suspect also allegedly took one of the grandchildren of another tenant, Madam Blessing Peter Obasi, who also said her daughter, the mother of her grandchild, was dead and the body was in the mortuary.

According to Uduma, along with Obasi, they went to the shop of the landlord who had already closed his shop around 7 p.m. and later proceeded to the police where they made entry.

Corroborating Madam Uduma, a trader, Blessing Obasi, said she returned home that Saturday to learn that they had taken her child, another woman’s two children and one other child from another woman, making the number of the children to be four girls.

“We went to the Central Police Station to report that Saturday and were there up till 1 am, looking for them. When that happened, I called the landlord to inform him and he promised to call the woman. He later called me to say the suspect’s line was not going through. Up to 12 pm, I had yet to see the landlord, unless he came when I was not in,” she said.

However, the woman whose daughter was abducted, Ngozi Kingsley, was not seen as she was said to have travelled to her hometown, Okon Ohafia, on Sunday evening when PUNCH Metro visited. Her phone number was not reachable.

Confirming the incident in a press statement, the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Maureen Chinaka, said, “At present, the police have arrested some suspects associated with the unknown tenant and investigation is in progress to determine the whereabouts of the children.”

She however noted, “The complainant, Mrs. Ibe, brought this report to the attention of the police a day after the incident occurred. The public is strongly advised to report matters of this nature immediately to the police control room as soon as they discover such occurrences before physically reporting the incident at the police station.”

“Avoid entrusting underage children to unfamiliar individuals and maintain a vigilant approach when minors are seen with adult companions. Interview both the child and the accompanying person; if unsatisfied with explanations, involve the police for necessary action,” she further advised.