A visually impaired woman, Agnes Forte, has raised the alarm over the disappearance of her one-year-old baby, Excel, in the Akowonjo area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Excel was in the company of her stepsister, Joy, on Tuesday, November 28, when she was last seen.
Agnes, who spoke to our correspondent, said she was in the room when the 13-year-old Joy and Excel were both playing along the corridor of their apartment.
She said he could no longer hear their voices after a while, and attempts to locate their whereabouts since then had been unsuccessful.
She said, “We had just finished eating when my baby opened the door and stepped outside to play. That was when I called Joy to go and bring her back. But she refused to come in when my sister tried to bring her back. So, I told them not to go beyond the corridor. A few minutes later, Joy came inside and went out again to meet Excel. Then, I started to hear her sing “Jumping, jumping” three times and I did not hear them again. After a while, I called their names and none of them answered.
“I had to quickly call my neighbours who also looked around but did not see them. I quickly woke my first daughter who was sleeping on the bed because she was not feeling fine. I told her to help me go out and look for Joy and Jessica. The moment I opened my bag to pick up something, I discovered my money and ATM card had been taken. I also got to know that she had packed some of her clothes. Jessica later came back home to tell me that she saw Joy running away. I alerted the neighbours again and they went around but did not see again.”
Agnes said Joy started living with them after her mother-in-law brought her to their home in January.
She, however, lamented that she had been giving her problems since her arrival.
According to her, it was not the first time Joy would run away from home but she had never taken her daughter with her.
She said, “Joy goes into the neighbourhood to take something that does not belong to her and runs away for like two days to avoid being disciplined. All this while that she used to run away, she had never taken my baby away. The first time she ran away, a woman said she saw her sitting with three people who looked like mad men, and when she asked her, she replied that they were her friends and that she visited them once in a while.
“But I noticed something on Sunday when I was in the church, I did not see her and I was looking for my phone and when she returned, I saw my phone with her. When I asked who she went to call, she said nobody. It was after this incident happened on Tuesday that my neighbour told me that she came to collect a recharge card from her and said I wanted to make an urgent call. The woman said she later went to the toilet where she heard her saying, ‘Ok, No problem. Alright.’ So, when she brought the phone inside, it rang again but she quickly aborted the call. I asked Jessica to check the call log but discovered she had deleted the number.”
Agnes’ husband, John, said he was at his place of work when his mother called to inform him.
He added that he immediately went around some parts of the state to search for them.
“I took Joy to my mother’s place after my first wife left me. My mother was later tired of the trouble she usually gave her before she brought her to stay with me. I was in the office when my mother called and told me what happened. When I came back, I went around looking for her but did not find them. On Wednesday morning, I went to the police station and when I got there, I was asked if I knew the whereabouts of my baby and if I connived with Jessica to kidnap my baby and I wondered what kind of question was that.
“I was later asked to write a statement. But since then, I have not heard from the police. They have not even visited our place. The officers we met in the station we visited at Shasha when we continued the search told us that the police station we first reported the incident to should have radioed the information the moment we reported it and that would have given us a chance to locate their whereabouts. We appeal to the police to step up efforts in locating them.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, could not be reached as calls made to his phones were not answered. A text message sent to him had yet to be responded to as of the time this report was filed.