The Abia State Police Command has confirmed that four children have been stolen in Umuahia by a new female tenant who just moved into a compound at Ubakala Street, by Ossah Road.
The children belonging to three different tenants were abducted last Saturday evening, Dec. 16 in Umuahia, Abia State.
The neighbour had packed into the compound just three days earlier before warming her way into the hearts of three tenants and taking their children.
The tenants, all women, are Madam Ngozi Kingsley; Madam Ifeanyi Uduma, sister to Ngozi Kingsley, and Madam Blessing Peter Obasi from Nwoke compound, Elugwu Nguzu Edda in Ebonyi State. They are all traders in Umuahia.
The women claimed that the suspected kidnapper, whose identity is not known, moved into the building as a new tenant, along with another person said to be her sister, friend or an accomplice.
The new tenant moved in with only a camp gas, a 6-inch small foam and a mat, with a little bag suspected to be her clothes.
It was noticed that the new tenant and her “friend” only tied similar wrappers while they were in the house, giving the impression they only had few clothes with them.
Within the first two days, they endeared themselves into the heart of their neighbours by playing with their children and buying them gifts as well as sending them on errands. In one instance, they went to buy brooms and other items with one of the grown up children that later escaped abduction.
Madam Ifeanyi Uduma, 33, said she treaded with caution not suspecting any foul intention by the suspect.
Uduma said she came to Umuahia from Ohafia this year due to hardship, so her sister Ngozi Kingsley could assist her in her fish business.
Uduma said that within the two days, the suspect and her friend cooked food and gave to the children who would playfully enter into the suspects’ room.
She recalled: “That Saturday, she bought them drinks and gave them biscuits and later gave them food to eat. The suspect also gave another tenant in the house food, and even me.
“Later, they dressed my last child with white cloth with red spots like flower. My child came to me excited to show me. I removed the cloth and dressed my child with her cloth and the woman came and asked me why I removed the cloth from my child. I told her that I wanted my child to wear my own cloth.
“Later, I saw her accomplice moving out with a sack bag with the clothes packed and the white ones on top and I asked her where she was going to. She said she wanted to go and buy things at the city centre while she had told another woman in the compound that she was going to give her sister clothes she bought for her. This one is a little slim while the main suspect is dark, fat and had bleaching marks on her legs.
“When the other one left, the fat one came out to where the children were playing that Friday evening, the children rallied around her, playing and demanding drinks. I left to fetch water and came back not to see them. I sent someone to go and know where the woman took the children and they were nowhere to be seen. That was how I started looking for them.”
The suspect took Uduma’s two children.
The suspect also allegedly took one of the grandchildren of another tenant, Madam Blessing Peter Obasi, who also said her daughter, the mother of her grandchild, was dead and the body was in the mortuary.
According to Uduma, along with Madam Obasi, they went to the shop of the landlord who had already closed his shop around 7 p.m. and later proceeded to the police where they made entry.
Also corroborating Madam Uduma, Blessing Obasi, a trader at Umuopara Goods Shade in Umuahia, said she returned home that Saturday to learn that they had taken her child, another woman’s two children and one other child from another woman, making the number of the children to be four girls.
“We went to the Central Police Station to report that Saturday and were there up till 1 am, looking for them. When that happened, I called the landlord to inform him and he promised to call the woman. He later called me to say the suspect’s line was not going through. Up to 12 pm, I had yet to see the landlord, unless he came when I was not in,” Obasi said.
Obasi’s disclosed that her abducted granddaughter’s name is Miracle Akubata, from Imo state. She lamented that the child’s mother’s body is in the mortuary and she now has to give the child’s father the bad news about his daughter’s abduction.
The other woman whose daughter was abducted, Ngozi Kingsley, said in a trending video: “I went to the market as usual yesterday (Saturday, Dec. 16) and left my children with my sister who visited with her two children. We had no water in the compound due to lack of power supply, so my sister went to fetch water and took my son with her.
“When she returned, she discovered that my only daughter, Chioma (6), my sister’s two daughters, Ogbonne Uduma (6) and Joy Uduma (3), as well as my neighbour’s child Miracle Akubata (5) were missing alongside the new tenant.”
She said the landlord was contacted and they were given the number of the tenant but it has not been connecting so far.
The landlord also gave the number and address of the agent who brought the tenant but the agent has absconded too.
Confirming the incident in a press statement, the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Maureen Chinaka, said that some associates of the unnamed tenant have been arrested.
A statement signed by ASP Maureen Chinaka, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Abia Command, said the incident was reported to Central Police Station (CPS) on December 17, 2023 by Mrs Ifeanyi Udoma Ibe, a day after the abduction took place.
The statement read, “On the 17th of December 2023, at about 0900Hrs, Mrs Ifeanyi Udoma Ibe, a resident of Ubakala Street by Ossai Road, Umuahia, reported to the Central Police Station (CPS) Umuahia that she entrusted four children to the care of a new female tenant, including two of hers and her neighbours’ namely:
1. JOY UDOMA (Female, three years old),
2. OGBONNA UDOMA (Male, six years old),
3. CHIOMA KINGSLEY (Female, five years old),
4. MIRACLE IKECHUKWU (Female, five years old).
“Unfortunately, on the same day, the new tenant made away with the four children.
“Police interaction with Mrs Ibe revealed that the tenant had moved in just three days before the incident and Mrs Ibe could not provide details such as the tenant’s name or GSM number.
“Anyone with useful information regarding the missing children should report to the nearest police station or contact the PPRO via 07059951536.
“The complainant, Mrs Ibe, brought this report to the attention of the police one day after the incident occurred.
“At present, the police have arrested some suspects associated with the unknown tenant and investigation is in progress to determine the whereabouts of the children.”
The statement enjoined members of the public to immediately contact the Police control room as soon as they discover such occurrences, before physically reporting the incident at the Police station.
The PPRO, who gave out Abia State Police control room numbers as: 08035415406, 08079210004, 08079210005 and 0807921000, said prompt report of incidents would aid prompt efforts.
In the same vein, the Abia State Police Command warned parents against entrusting their underage children to unfamiliar individuals even as it urged the public to maintain a vigilant approach when minors are seen with adult companions.
This incident comes just months after new tenants abducted a neighbour’s two children 2 weeks after moving into a room in Bayelsa community. The children, identified as Son and Success, were allegedly abducted around 6pm on June 19, 2023.
Also, in another incident in May 2023, two new female tenants abducted neighbours’ four children in Imo community a day after moving in.
A similar incident is also said to have happened recently in Anambra state.