A distraught mother, Constance Nwawike, has narrated the anguish of looking for her missing daughter, Cynthia Amarachi, 25, for five months.
Constance, a primary school teacher, said Amarachi, who is undergoing her National Youth Service Corps scheme in Osun State, had been missing since March 15, 2019.
Amarachi, a Political Science graduate of the University of Lagos, boarded a commercial vehicle at Iwo Road, Ibadan, Oyo State on the fateful day and even exchanged pleasantries with her friend before the vehicle took off.
Amarachi’s friend became worried after waiting expectantly for her phone call to say she had reached her destination, but such a call never came.
The friend was further perturbed by the fact that Amarachi’s phone was switched off.
Since the lady didn’t have Amarachi’s parents’ phone number, she went on Facebook to search and finally got them.
The parents also said they had not heard from her.
Amarachi’s distressed mother said: “On 15th of March, 2019, I called my daughter’s number, but it was switched off.
“I thought it was network.
“On Monday, I called the number again, but still got no response.
“I continued for three days without result.
“I then alerted my husband.
“Suddenly, somebody called that they were looking for her.
“Before I got the news, it was on a Friday, a week after 15th.
“The state coordinator of NYSC also called to report that they had not seen her since she travelled.
“I informed them that she didn’t return home.
“The coordinator said her friend, also a corps member, told them that she travelled to meet us in Lagos and since then, she has been calling her number without a reply.
“I asked the man to give me the lady’s number.
“I talked to the lady and she said that she has been trying to reach me.
“In fact, that Saturday, I wasn’t myself.
“I went to Ikorodu Police Station and reported the case.
“They said I should go to Ibadan because the lady made it known that Amarachi took off from Ibadan in Iwo Road.
“I went to Osun State, where she is serving.
“The head teacher there told me the same story.
“She said that my daughter called her to say that she had boarded a bus going to Ikorodu straight, and she asked her about the fare, which she said was N1,200 and since then she has been trying her number.
“We have gone as far as consulting anti-kidnapping squad, where we were told that they tracked her number to Kano State.
“The anti-kidnapping unit also told me that they made arrest.
“But since then, police had become evasive.
“Last week, I called them, but they said that they would call back, but they didn’t.
“I also reported the case in Osun State Police Command.
“I was invited for interview; when I got there, they said I should connect them with the anti-kidnapping unit investigating the matter in Lagos, which I did.
“The police later told me that they had been trying the phone of policemen in anti-kidnapping unit, Lagos State, without success.
“Pleas that police should intensify efforts and locate my daughter fell on deaf ears.
“In fact, at a stage, the police in Osun State told me point blank that their counterparts in Lagos do not want to relate with them over the case.”
Constance, who described her daughter as not being wayward, disclosed that she also visited churches in her desperation to locate Amarachi.
Her words: “I’ve been to several churches and they all told me that she is alive.
“I don’t know who to suspect in the disappearance of my daughter.
“She didn’t even tell me that she was coming home.
“The state coordinator also told me that it was not in their power to restrict any corps member from going home on weekend.
“Since Amarachi went to Osun, she has visited us at least twice.
“She doesn’t have a boyfriend.
“She schooled in UNILAG and most times she comes to my school, which was close to hers.”
According to Constance, on June 4, she called Amarachi’s phone number, it went through, and someone picked, but refused to respond.
“She sent a text message, begging that her daughter should be released, she didn’t receive a reply.
The factional Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Chief Joe Ajaero, uncle to Amarachi, said: “The family has been in confusion since the disappearance of Amarachi.
“After we received the sad news, her mother went round all the motor parks.
“We went to hospitals and mortuaries.
“We went to anti-kidnap squad in Lagos State.
“The police discovered someone was still making use of her phone lines.
“They went there and arrested three suspects in Ogun State forest.
“They took them to their office.
“I don’t know what happened later because they were released.
“In fact, someone is still using her second phone.
“It was tracked to Kano State.
“We got across to the anti-kidnapping squad in Kano and after some efforts, the details they gave us was not encouraging at all.
“Some of the guys in Lagos again had to go to Kano to join them.
“After some days, the man was still using the SIM to call and up till now, the man didn’t show up and the authorities have not gone beyond this point.
“Right now, we don’t know whether she’s alive or dead.
“Some of the policemen, who are working on the IT side, were able to actually trace the areas where the people using those lines are, but beyond that, nothing has happened.
“We have prayed and we have done everything humanly possible without success.
“Amarachi was posted to Taraba State, but she redeployed because of insecurity.”
Police sources at the anti-kidnapping unit, in Surulere, Lagos, said after the report was made, they worked on the two telephone numbers belonging to the victim and three suspects were arrested inside a thick forest inhabited by herders in Ogumakin, a boundary between Ogun and Oyo States.
According to sources, the three suspects, who are soft targets, were the father of the main target, his wife and sister.
They were brought back to Lagos for further investigation.
They were later granted bail to reliable sureties because they were not the target.
Police sources added that when the detectives came back to Lagos to work on the victim’s second number, which was earlier not accessible, they discovered that it was going through.
They tracked it to a town called Rijazaki in Kano State, where a girl suspected to be the girlfriend to the main target was arrested.
The girl reportedly interacted with the main target, who claimed to be in Kastina State on phone, in the presence of detectives.
He told her to meet him at a nearby town called Rijaremi in Kastina State.
Unfortunately, when they all got there, the target failed to show up.
While they were still with the female suspect, a human right group intervened, insisting that police couldn’t continue to detain her by proxy.
Based on that, the detectives handed the female suspect over to the leader of the town, Mai Angwa, after making a video recording of their activities.
She was released on the condition that Angwa would produce her anytime her attention was needed by the police.
It was learnt that they handed over a copy of the video recording to the missing corps member’s uncle and kept one for their use.
Sources further said the detectives laid ambush in the town for days, expecting to arrest the main target, without success.
Before returning home, they also contacted the Police Tactical Squad in Kano and after briefing them, the unit assured them that they would continue to monitor the target.
Unfortunately, more than five months after, detectives in all the police formations involved in the search have been unable to locate the whereabouts of Amarachi.