By Evelyn Usman and Kingsley Ndimele
There is no word to adequately describe the psychological trauma the family of Uche Nwanzuo is presently undergoing, following the discovery of the body of their only child inside a septic tank in the deceased school premises, Tuesday.
Their two-year, nine-month-old son arrived a year and three months after Mr Uche Nwazuo and Florence tied the nuptial knot. But like a candle in the wind, the joy of Uchechukwu’s arrival was cut short following the gory and startling discovery of his dead body last Tuesday in a septic tank.
Uchechukwu, as gathered, resumed school for the new session on September 27, 2010, after his mother dropped him off and planted a goodbye peck on his forehead. Little did Mrs Florence Nwanzuo , who just completed her mandatory National Youth Service Corps(NYSC), envisage that she was bidding her bundle of joy a final farewell.
The incident that literally invited sorrow to the Nwanzuos started later that day after Mrs Nwanzuo who had gone to pick her son, discovered he was not in his play group class. Rather, only Uchechukwu’s food pack was sighted in that position. On enquiry, his astonished teacher reportedly gave a blank stare, following which a search was conducted round the school and its environs without luck.
As the clock ticked by the day, hope of the whereabout of little Uchechukwu dwindled, until the sudden discovery of his body right inside the school’s septic tank.
Controversy has however, began to trail the discovery of his body inside the septic tank. Already, there are some unanswered questions which the family said needed to be unraveled by the police. These include allegations that the hole through which the little boy found himself inside the septic tank was not there when the search was on. Also, the body was not oozing any foul odor as expected of a decomposing body. Again, the possibility of the sandy ground close to the septic tank sinking, was ruled out as those who assisted in bringing out the body said they too could have caved in judging by their weight.
Moreover, the family alleged that a child told them during the search that a woman who claimed to be a relative came to school that fateful day to pick the child. So far, how the body was later found inside the septic tank remains a big puzzle to the family.
In this brief talk with Mrs Florence who still found it difficult to believe that her son was gone, she narrated what she described as the genesis of her woes, “ I took my son to school on September 27, 2010, which was his first day at school for the new session. By 1pm, I went back to the school which is just a stone throw from our house, only to find his lunch bag, without any sight of my son. When I asked, nobody gave me any convincing explanation and the search started”. At this point, she stopped and broke down into fresh tears, wailing and calling out to Uchechukwu to come and go on an errand for her the way he usually did.
At this juncture, a woman who identified herself as the godmother of the deceased but refused that her name be mentioned, continued from where the bereaved mother stopped , “ We sent the prayer point to all the churches around. We kept praying believing that Uchechukwu meaning God’s will , will return home.
But yesterday, (Monday)her husband’s phone rang, with the voice of a policeman from the SCID inviting him over. When we got there, they were operatives of the Homicide section. At that point, we became suspicious and questioned why Homicide section which deals with murder cases and not Child Trafficking section, was inviting us.
It was there and then that news of the discovery of his son’ dead body was broken. The policemen said the school authority called them to inform them of the discovery. Then the man was on his way out at about 12 noon” As she was about continuing, the wailing of the bereaved mother interrupted , while sympathizers tried all they could to console her. Continuing, the late Uchechukwu’s godmother stated, “ We would want the police to carry out discreet investigation and come out with findings on how the boy found his way into the septic tank. If it was during break time, why was he not seen? If it happened during closing hour, why did other children not see him. In fact , the mother said she got there at exactly 1pm, which is the time they usually close.
Also when we conducted search around the school premises, we did not see that hole there. We only saw a well which was closed. So the question that is begging for an immediate answer is who dug that hole close to the septic tank from where the body of Uchechukwu was seen? How did he get there in the first place without anybody seeing him? Why did it take the school authority this long before the body was discovered? Also what about the issue of a seemingly decomposing body without foul smell?. We were also told by one of the pupils that a woman came to pick Uchechukwu from school that day. Even when we went to confront the little child at home, he claimed to have seen the woman. All these are part of the questions begging for answers”, she stated.
The father of the boy could however, not grant anyone interview when approached as he kept pacing around the school premises , shaking his head, until the arrival of a team of policemen from Ago Okota and SCID.
After a futile effort to bring out the remains of Uchechukwu from th septic tank, some Hausa specialists were contracted and with the aid of one of the male sympathizers, it was finally brought out. But in the process of bringing out the body, the head reportedly dropped into the septic tank, while the headless body which was peeling off, was brought out. It was placed inside a purple plastic and kept inside the police van which immediately zoomed off.
It was however observed that the school located on number 17, Aregbeshola street had no means of identification. Even the banner that was tied to the gate read: ‘Stacy Remedial Education Centre For Effective Tutorials Covering , SSCE/GCE , JSS 1-3 lessons’. This contradicted the name King of Kings which the school is known as.