By Austin Ogwuda, Asaba
In the days of our forefathers, there existed unlimited flow of affection and trust, hence a little baby could be left in the care of another woman next door while the mother of the child proceeded to market or farm. That time there was no high fence demarcating one family home from the other.
But today, all that has changed due to the influence of Western culture and civilization. However, a Sociologist will be wont to defend this by pointing at disturbing new wave of crimes, especially kidnapping and other heinous acts which were unheard of when communal life was savoured by our forbearers.
Presumably enamoured of the sentiment that time has indeed changed that it is a risky affair entrusting the life of one’s children into the hands of a neighbour, a 30-year-old staff of the Central Hospital, Agbor in Delta, Mercy Ehianor, decided to lock up her two children in her living apartment and went to buy meat for cooking. But unfortunately she was greeted with the greatest shock of her life on her return.
Actually, she confessed that that was not the first time she had ‘imprisoned’ the children, all in the name of security.
The bizarre incident took place at her one-bedroom apartment located at Alihame-Agbor, in Delta State. The apartment is located adjacent the Baptist Girls Model High School, Alihame-Agbor.
According to her, she occasionally locked up her children in the room to attend to other engagements outside her home. But on this fateful day she left to buy meat and came back to meet them dead.
Her story: “When I returned from the slaughter house, I went straight to where I kept the key but to my greatest surprise the key was nowhere to be found. Then I called Harrison and Favour (her children) more than four times and there was no response from them. I now used the spare key in my bag to open the door and realised that my children were not in the house. I became apprehensive and I approached two of my neighbours to find out whether they had knowledge of their whereabouts. One of the neighgbours told me she at a time heard their voices in the room. I became confused the more and knew that something had gone wrong.
“I rushed to the police station but the police refused to follow me, insisting that I should first of all go and search for the children thoroughly before coming, to lay a complaint.
“As I was crying for help on my way home, I was approached by a young lady who took me to a pastor and after listening to my explanations the pastor decided to follow me home. He ordered that the clothes of the ‘missing kids’ be brought to him so that he would pray with them to get divine direction of their whereabouts.
“And while the prayer was going on, I became thirsty and dashed to the deep freezer for water only to see the lifeless bodies of the children lying side by side.
“I tried to open the deep freezer but I could not; then I used the key to the refrigerator to open it where I discovered with rude shock the lifeless bodies of my children”.
Vanguard Metro investigation showed that since she purchased the deep freezer three weeks ago, it had not worked for one day due to non- availability of power and was not even working when the bodies of the kids were discovered. But traces of blood were reportedly found on the nose and mouth of the kids, according to the mother.
The mother of two kids who was said to have parted ways with her husband for over five years said she smelt a rat and called for full scale investigation into the incident.
But the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Charles Muka in confirming the story to VM said that no arrest has been made so far. But he however assured that “with the preliminary investigation the woman locked the children inside the room and took the keys away, but we are investigating . We will do everything to unravel the mystery”.
While the Police battle to unravel mystery, the tragic and painful reality that seven-year-old Harrison and five-year-old Favour are gone forever continues to haunt their mother. And there is also the suspicion that the children may have met with foul play, which is presently giving the woman sleepless nights.
The two kids were pupils of Community Day Care /Primary School Agbor. The tragic incident that claimed their lives reminds one of a similar agonizing sight when a stanchion carrying a 2000-litre of water tank fell on top of one of the classrooms of a model school located at the premises of College of Education Agbor, killing five of the pupils on the spot, while several of them were rushed to hospital.
The question now is: How far can the police go in unravelling the mystery and bring the culprits to book?