By Evelyn Usman
As she walked into the Lagos State Criminal Investigation Department , SCID, Yaba, alongside several other visitors who had come for various reasons ranging from effecting the release of their detained relatives to submitting petitions , it was obvious that all was not well with Mrs Evelyn Agu.
What drew the attention of this reporter was her exclamation of, “ eh, not again!, after a man, later discovered to be her relation shook his head, apparently in response to a question she asked. Using her left hand to move a black nylon in order to create a space, she sat on the bare floor folding her arms and shaking her head intermittently .
The mother of three state of confusion was soon found to have been caused by the mysterious disappearance of her husband, Emmanuel Agu , since February , 2015.
Agu, a native of Orlu, Imo State, reportedly drove his Honda Odyssey vehicle with Lagos number plate GZ 143 EKY, from his Oko-Ado, in Sango Tedo area of Ajah, Lagos residence, with a cock in his hand. Destination was said to be the home of a herbalist, at Abijo, Ibeju-Lekki. Time was 8pm. Since then, he has neither been seen nor any word heard from him. Efforts to reach him on his mobile telephone proved abortive as it was switched off. His car has not been found either.
‘Meeting with herbalist’
Explaining how her husband met the herbalist, a national of Benin Republic identified as Kehinde Balogun , 35-year-old Mrs Agu said: “ On January 28, 2015, my husband took his car to the mechanic for repairs at about 12.30pm. He came back with a man he introduced to me as Mr Kehinde Balogun. They went inside, discussed and he drove Balogun back to his house.
My husband returned with a five-litre keg of agbo(concoction ). He disclosed that the discussion he had with Balogun was how he (husband) could secure a job, adding that Balogun was a herbalist. He said Balogun requested for N12,000 which would be used to buy a goat and things needed to carry out some ‘spiritual work’ that would enable him get a job. In addition, he said Balogun requested for N3,000 transport fare.
“ Next day (January 29), my husband left home to give Balogun the money . But when he came back, he said he did not give him everything as he used part of the money to buy fuel and that Balogun could not buy the goat because it was already late to start the ‘spiritual work’.
“Three days later (February 1) , Balogun called my husband on phone, informing him that he won’t be able to come that day because he did not finish his masquerade activities on time. He promised to come the following day which was Monday”.
“The distraught wife went on: “A about 8pm on Monday, February 2, 2015, my husband and I were in my shop when his phone rang. The caller was Balogn. I overheard him asking Balogun if he should come with the cock . When he hung up, he went inside, brought a cock , put it inside a black and white striped nylon and informed me he was going to Balogun’s place.
“Moments later, he called me on phone to say we should hasten up and close for the day , that he was on his way back home with a keg of kerosene he bought”.
Apprehension sets in
But she waited endlessly for her husband to show up. Apprehension set in after efforts to reach the husband on the phone to find out the cause of the delay proved abortive, as his phone was switched off. The clock ticked away, signifying the dawn of another day without the usual hooting of his horn to announce his arrival.
The next day, the wife contacted one Kingsley whom she said introduced her husband to the ‘herbalist’ in order to get the latter’s telephone number. But the response she got from him (herbalist) heightened her already tensed mood.
Continuing, she said : “ Balogun told me he did not understand what I was saying and switched off his phone. I called Kingsley to inform him about the development and begged him to either take me to Balogun’s place or described it to me. I went there on my own on February 3, 2015 and he insisted he did not see my husband. He also denied calling my husband the previous day .
“ I became suspicious and at the same time afraid for my husband’s life . I reported the matter at Ajah Police Division and requested that my husband’s call log be cross-checked from the network provider. When it was checked, we discovered that Balogun was the last caller and the time of his call read 8.40pm. Till date, I have not seen my husband nor his light brown Honda Odyssey he drove in”.
Balogun was arrested by policemen at Ajah but was later released. Determined to find her husband with the help of the police, Mrs Agu went to the SCID, where detectives at D14 apprehended the ‘herbalist’ again. So far , detectives were said to have searched mortuaries, hospitals and police stations in Lagos State without luck.
However preliminary investigation according to police sources, revealed that Balogun might not be a herbalist afterall, as the Association of Traditional Medicine Practitioners reportedly denied him as its member. Detectives also allegedly discovered that the certificate of association he hung in his room was forged.
In this interview with Sunday Vanguard , the 36 year-old suspect, married to a Nigerian, maintained that he knew nothing about missing Agu. He admitted to have collected N6,000 from him but clarified that it was not meant for goat as claimed by the complainant.
Balogun said : “ I met the man through a man who came for spiritual work . When he took me to his place, he showed me two calabashes with cowries , a white handkerchief and liqiud substance suspected to be gin. He told me it was prepared for him by a herbalist .
“He is diabetic and the money he paid was for preparation of a concoction to cure it. He is still owing me N6,000. When he called to ask if he should come over to my place, I told him to come with my balance and the keg with which I prepared the concoction but he said he did not have money .
“ I was so shocked when his wife later called to say she wanted to speak with her husband. Since I do not understand English language very well because I am from Cotonou, I gave the phone to my wife . My wife explained to her that I don’t admit people in the house because she can not be attending to ailing persons .
“That is how I found myself here. I am not into divination. I only prepare concoction for ailments. Some of my friends who have looked into the spiritual realm said the missing man is alive and well. Some even said he fled with people’s money. Since I started this work, I have never been involved in matters like this”.