The fate of a 16-year-old boy, Samuel Abiehude, has instilled fear in his parents one month after his whereabouts became a mystery.
City Round learnt that the boy, who just completed his secondary school education, went missing on December 30, 2018 after he attended a party with a friend in Koye, Lambe area of Ogun State.
It was gathered that Samuel, whose parents reside in the community, had come from Warri, Delta State, to celebrate Yuletide with his family.
He reportedly relocated to Warri three years ago to live with his aunty.
Our correspondent learnt that the friend, one Elijah, is the son of a pastor, whose church the Abiehudes attended.
It was said that the duo had left for the party around 8.30pm, but only Elijah returned.
Efforts to reach Samuel on his mobile phone reportedly proved abortive as his line was switched off.
In an interview with Saturday PUNCH during the week, Samuel’s mother, Mrs Patricia Abiehude, said the incident had created panic in the family.
She said she was at the shop with her son that day when Elijah came and they left for the party together.
Patricia said, “He is living in Warri. He came to Lagos to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Day with us. He arrived in Lagos on December 15. On December 30, we came back from church around 6pm and he was with me at my shop. About 8.30pm, his friend, Elijah, came to the shop and they left for the party which holds every year in the community.
“I told him (Samuel) to come back home by 9pm. When it was 10pm and I didn’t see him, I became worried. I told his father that I wanted to go and look for him, but he said Samuel was not a baby and that I should not worry myself. He assured me that he would come home. He said maybe he had gone to sleep at Elijah’s house because they used to be together. I was outside waiting for him until 12am when my husband asked me to go inside. I called his line but it was switched off.”
Patricia explained that at 6am the next day, her husband went to the church to look for Samuel.
She claimed that Elijah fled on sighting her husband from afar, adding that the matter was reported to the police at Ajuwon Police Station after they couldn’t find Samuel.
She said, “My husband asked the pastor about Samuel’s whereabouts. He said he did not know and that he was not aware they went for the party. We looked for him around the community, but we could not find him.
“We reported the case at the Ajuwon Police Station and the pastor and his son were brought to the station. His son was detained and was later transferred to the police headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta. Elijah told the police that he followed Samuel home around 10pm whereas I was outside at that time. I did not see them. The pastor met with the police and his son was released without my knowledge. He did not care about finding my son. He just finished from the secondary school. My sister in Warri said she did not see him.”
But the pastor, who gave his name as Prophet Philip, said he had been trying his best to ensure Samuel was found. He said he had visited several places and spent a lot of money in the course of his search for the boy.
He said, “The party was hosted within the community. All my five children went there. My wife and I were outside waiting for them because there was power outage. They came back around 9pm and we all went inside. The following morning, Samuel’s father came to the church. He met me and Elijah washing my car. He asked if Samuel was with us and I said no.
“It was that morning Elijah told me Samuel also attended the party. He said he was going to buy banger when he saw Samuel and the boy followed him to the party. He said he accompanied him to his father’s house before the party closed and they departed at the entrance to the house.
“The matter is giving me heartaches. The family has been attending my church for 12 years. It is not true that I don’t care about the boy’s whereabouts. On Tuesday, we had information that he was seen around Okofili (Lagos State). My wife and I went there, but we did not find him. I can’t sleep because of this incident.”
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the case was under investigation, adding that Elijah was released on administrative bail.