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How kidnappers used my 12-year-old son as collateral to buy two bags of rice – Father

Father of a 12-year old Junior Secondary School (JSS-2) student, has recounted how suspected kidnappers used his son as ‘collateral’ to buy two bags of rice.

Pastor Joshua Ogbonna alleged that the abductors took the boy to where they bought two bags of rice valued at N180,000 from a food stuff seller.

He disclosed this while speaking to journalists on Sunday, in Lagos. According to the father, on Friday, March 1 at about 9.00 a.m., his son was sent to buy moi-moi (bean pudding) for family breakfast but he did not return home.

He said the child went to the place where the moi-moi was being sold and the seller told him it was not ready, but collected the money and told him to return when it is ready. However, when he went back to the woman some minutes later to collect the moi-moi, he never returned.

Ogbonna said; “We were looking for him everywhere, we went to the place he was supposed to buy the moi-moi and asked the lady selling.

She explained that the boy was there earlier but the moi-moi was not ready, she collected N1,000 from him and asked him to come back later.

She explained that when he came back, he came with a man and the lady thought the man was his father, the man collected the moi-moi from her and they both left.

She said the man was putting on a white top and black trousers, dark in complexion. I told her we have been looking for him, and there after, we went to New Oko-Oba Police Division at Abule-Egba, to make entry, so that they can help me look for my child”.

The man further revealed that around 5.00 p.m while still at the police station, he received a call from another police officer, who said he was calling from Red House Police Station, Iju Ishaga.

Ogbonna said that the officer told him his son was with them and he should come to the station. He said he went there with three police men from the New Oko-Oba Police Division, where they told the officer that there was a report of a missing child.

“The police officer, who called me, said this is not a case of a missing child, but theft. The officer said the child stole two bags of rice. I asked, how can a 12-year old boy steal two bags of rice, I told the officer that we live in Abule-Egba.

The police showed me a footage of two men and the boy, who went to the rice seller. The policeman said that the men bought two bags of rice for N180,000.

The officer said one of the men claimed that they had a church event and needed to buy rice. The man claimed he was the father of the boy.

He asked the boy to wait at the rice shop, while he went home to get the money, he left with the two bags of rice in company of the other man,” he explained.

According to him, the officer explained that when the man did not come back with the money, the rice seller asked the boy the “whereabouts of his father who brought him there.”

“My boy told the rice seller that he didn’t know the man nor where he lived, they started beating him, calling him thief, while he was being beaten a man came up to his rescue.

“They told him all that happened. They went to police station with my boy to report the case, that was when they called me. The Police said there was a CCTV Camera that captured them when they were coming to carry the rice.

“They didn’t show me where they were carrying the rice. The rice sellers insisted that I must pay for the rice, I told them, I can’t pay for two bags, I will pay for one bag for my son to be released to me.

“I paid N90,000 for one bag of rice. After that Police said I must bail my child, I told them how can I bail a child. They insisted, then I told them, I will leave my child with them if they refuse to release him to me. I later paid N5,000 to bail my son,” he said.

Ogbonna said he left the Red House Police Station for Oko-Oba Police Division to close the case of missing child with N10,000 payment. He said his son later told him how he met the man on his way to buy the moi-moi.

The boy said that while going to buy the moi-moi, a man stopped him, and requested him to hold his phone for him that he wanted to use water to wash his legs.

He said his son explained that after the man washed his legs, he collected the phone from him, hit his head, made some incantations, he said that was the last thing he remembered.

“My son said the only thing he could remember was that he was on top of a motorcycle to a place with the man, where they took a tricycle (Keke Maruwa) to another place, and from there, they took another motorcycle to Opawale, where the man abandoned him. The trauma was hell for my son. He has not recovered up till now. It was God, who saved his life,” Ogbonna said.