Following the discovery of a kidnappers den on Wednesday in Majidun area of Ikorodu, Lagos State after a six-year-old boy, Emmanuel Emeka was rescued from a kidnapper, the boy has recounted his experience.
The 7-year-old Emmanuel and the suspect, Mama Ifunaya
Emmanuel Emeka, who said the suspect, identified as Mama Ifunaya was a neighbour, lured him into her room, strangled him, covered his mouth with clothes before tying him up with rope to prevent him from screaming.
He said: “I wanted to draw water and take my bath before going to school when she told me to come. I went because I know her; she is Mama Ifunnaya. But when I got to her side, she threw me inside her room… she closed her net. She then tied me and put me inside a box.
“I wanted to shout, but I could not shout properly. I heard my mummy’s voice when she was looking for me, but I could not shout. She (pointing to the suspect) is a wicked person.”
It was reported on June 25, that the kidnapper, a mother of four narrowly escaped being lynched but for the intervention of the police. She was caught by residents of the area with the victim, tied with a rope in a bag which led her to confessing that she was sent by one pastor Ernest Nwankwo, the General Overseer of Holy Family Ministry a.k.a House of Mercy who turns out to be the owner of the kidnappers’ den.
After her confession she was said to have led the mob to the church, the mob forced their way into a house near the church, but discovered that the prophet had fled. They were said to have found in the house photographs of previously missing people, mats, calabashes containing unknown substances and eight other victims including a 52 year old man who said he was a commercial bus driver and was kidnapped two years ago.
The captives upon interrogation said they were kidnapped from various places like Ogun, Anambra, Bayelsa and Oyo states. One of the captives, a 50 year old woman said she was kidnapped while returning from a night vigil.
Residents in the area said the building owned by the pastor had always been under suspicion as no one ever saw anyone coming out or going in during the day. They said most of the activities carried out in the building is usually done at night.
Meanwhile the victim’s mother, Mrs. Gloria Emeka speaking to Punch explained that she never suspected her neighbour because while she was searching for her child, the suspect was in her room with her children praying and shouting “holy ghost fire” which was a ploy to prevent her from hearing her son’s screams.
Narrating she said: “On Tuesday morning, I was preparing Emmanuel to go to school. He told me he wanted to fetch the water from the well.
“I left him and went inside the kitchen where I was cooking. But what I heard next was the muffled voice of my child and I ran out.
“I began shouting his name, but I didn’t see him. I, however, observed that my neighbour’s door was slightly opened and I entered. I met her children and asked them if they saw Emmanuel, but they said no.
“I looked everywhere without a trace of my son. People joined me and we searched the surroundings, but we couldn’t find him.
“My landlady’s son entered the well to see if he fell into the well, but he came out and said he couldn’t find anything.”
“Later, we saw her leaving the house with a box on her head. She said she was travelling. It was my landlady that challenged her why she could go out when everybody was busy searching for Emmanuel.
“The landlady asked her to stop, but she suddenly increased her pace and started running. That was how the landlady shouted, ‘kidnapper, kidnapper’, and people ran after her.”
The box was said to have fallen, and when it was opened, the missing boy was found in it.
According to a police source some witnesses said more than 15 receipts were recovered from the victim. The receipts were said to have shown payment for some past unidentified jobs.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide said that the suspect would be charged to court as soon as investigations were concluded.
However, the accused pastor is reported to be currently on the run.