by S’ola Filani
An unidentified young boy who got missing while hawking on Alhaji Jamiu Sulaimon Street in Itele, Ota area of Ogun State on Tuesday evening has been rescued by residents.
Reports say the boy was rescued as he was about to be killed.
According to reports, No 3, Alhaji Jamiu Sulaimon, where the boy was rescued is unarguably one of the most beautiful houses on the street and no one could have imagined the horror discovered behind its high walls.
According to the Punch, a resident of the street, Abdulateef Isa, said the rescued boy used to hawk belts on the street. “The boy is Igbo, he sells belts and he is known by many in this area even though we don’t really know his name. He was hawking with his friend yesterday (Tuesday) before this whole issue came to light. His friend, who is also an Igbo boy, knew when he was called into the compound but when he waited for more than 30 minutes and his friend had not come out, he raised the alarm.”
A police officer from the Itele Police Division told our correspondent that residents of the area came to the station to report on Tuesday evening that a boy who went into a compound to sell had gone missing. “Our divisional police officer instantly issued a search warrant and detached a team to the compound. When we got there, a large number of residents had gathered and we had to be strategic in controlling them for us to gain access.
“We got there and met a young man who said he was the brother of the owner of the house. He started opening each of the rooms, acting calm and repeating that, ‘See for yourself, each room is empty. But our DPO insisted that she perceived an odour that was abnormal. She asked one of us to climb through a window and check the corner of a toilet. And there was the boy, covered in blood. He was even too weak to shout. From the look of things, the kidnappers had already attempted to kill the boy but hurriedly abandoned him and fled because the victim’s friend raised the alarm. The man we arrested must have been given order to stay behind and divert suspicion.”
The boy was said to have been blinded in one eye as caked blood covered one of his eye sockets. There was a bloody deep gash on his neck also, which was suspected to have come from an attempt to slaughter him.Our correspondent learnt that the boy was immediately rushed to the hospital while the man found in the house was arrested. The agent in charge of the house was also later arrested. Few minutes after the police left the compound, the residents set the house ablaze and every valuable in the house was destroyed.
One of the leaders of the community, Alhaji Isa Jimoh, who notified the police about the missing boy, said he never had any inkling that kidnappers could be operating a den in the area.
Jimoh, who lives about seven houses away from the horror house, said, “I have no idea who owns that house and I have no idea when it was built. The short time it was built from start to finish, I was not around then. When I got report that a child who was hawking and called inside the compound never came out, I had to inform the police because I realised it was not the duty of residents to storm the place. The first time the police came, the place was under lock and key. They went back to their office and when they came back, they broke the gate, arrested a man inside there and discovered the boy almost dead on the floor of one of the toilets.”
Jimoh said no one had ever been missing in the area, which was why they probably did not suspect any criminal activity in the house.
Spokesperson for the Ogun State Police Command, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, said the suspects arrested in the case have been transferred to the Department of Criminal Investigation, Eleweran, Abeokuta.