A couple, Mr Benjamin Bamidele (36) and his wife, Bose (32) have made a Save-our-Children appeal to Nigerians to help rescue two of their three children who were stolen by a self-styled couple, who rented a room on Odo Oba Street at Academy area of Ibadan, Oyo State, and disappeared with the two daughters of the landlord after four days.
The incident reportedly occurred on Monday, September 18, while the stolen children’s names were given as Bamidele Victoria (five years old) and Bamidele Mary (two years, eight months old).
Newsmen learnt that a man, who gave his name as Monday Williams and claimed to be an indigene of Benin, Edo State, came to rent a room in the Boys’ Quarters adjoining a 20-room storey building where the children lived with their parents, Mr Benjamin Bamidele, his wife, Bose, and his mother, Mrs Felicia Bamidele.
The couple, toldl the world of their plight and plead for help towards the recovery of their two children from their abductors, groaned intermittently as they spoke. Newsmen were also at the Bamidele residence to capture the events that led to the children’s abduction.
According to the 72-year-old grandmother of the victims, Madam Bamidele, “the tenant came to the house to seek accommodation and I directed him to our caretaker. The next thing I saw was that he came back to wash the floor of the room. He moved in on Thursday, September 14 with a woman he called his wife.
“The story the caretaker said he told him was that he was living with his brother but had to get an accommodation since he was getting married.
“When I noticed that he did not come with any belongings, I called the caretaker’s attention to it, but the caretaker said that the tenant claimed he still had his things in his brother’s place.
“The room he rented was N1,000 per month and he was expected to pay for a year. But the caretaker later told us that the tenant paid for six months, with a promise to pay the balance later.”
Narrating the happenings before the children’s disappearance, the septuagenarian said: “The tenant went out on Monday morning. I was downstairs where his ‘wife’ came to meet me and started chatting with me. My daughter-in-law took her three children to school to register them for the new session and later returned with them. The two younger ones were with me while the eldest went upstairs.
“After a while, the tenant’s ‘wife’ told me that she wanted to buy biscuit for my grandchildren. Since there was a provision seller in front us, I gave the move no thought, and before I knew what was happening, I fell into a deep sleep.
“I woke up and it suddenly dawned on me that my grandchildren were not with me. I called their mother who was upstairs to know if they were with her, but she said no.
“We went to the caretaker, asking him to call the tenant’s number, but to our shock, the number could not be reached. All the line was saying was ‘Sorry, the customer you dialled is barred from receiving calls.’
“That was how a search for the children started, but we are yet to find them. We learnt from some people that the children were sighted on a motorcycle with the tenant. He was said to be beating them while the children were crying.
“When asked why the children were crying, the tenant was said to have replied that he brought them to their grandmother for the holidays and they were reluctant in returning home, preferring to stay with grandma.
“We went to check the rented room and found it padlocked from outside, but when we opened the window, we found an empty room, save for a two-yard linoleum carpet, a bucket, a potty, a broom and empty bag which was blown with air to make it look like it contained some items.”
Also speaking with the Newsmen, the 32-year-old mother of the stolen kids, Mrs Bose Bamidele, said she didn’t know a tenant had been taken in until she noticed the light in the Boys’ Quarters room on Friday, September 15.
“I was not at home on Saturday and went to church on Sunday, so I did not see the ‘couple’.
I saw them on Monday, September 18 and we exchanged greetings. I took my children to school, came back with them and dropped them with my mother-in-law to go and buy their books at Beere area.
“I saw the tenant’s ‘wife’ standing by my in-law’s still on the ground floor, chatting with her. She was speaking in English and sounded like someone from the South East.
“I returned from the market and still saw the children with their grandma. I went to buy foodstuff to cook and went upstairs to prepare our meal.
“About 10 minutes after my return, my in-laws came to ask for Victoria and Mary, saying that the tenant’s ‘wife’ said she wanted to buy biscuits for them.
“That was how our search for my daughters began; and till now, we are yet to see them.
“We reported the case at Idi-Aro police station and the caretaker was arrested. He was released on bail but the case was later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Iyaganku, Ibadan and he was re-arrested. He is still in detention there.”
When contacted, the police image-maker in the state, Adekunle Ajisebutu said that the case was under investigation, “but we can’t be giving details. Some arrests have been made. We will keep you posted when we make a head-way.”