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Puzzle over disappearance of man, 20, at Festac Link bridge

By  Uju  Mbanusi

…bearded suspect arrested
Tragedy struck on Wednesday, May 8, between 12 and 1pm at the Festac link bridge, Lagos, when a yet- to- be identified young man got drowned while trying to retrieve a bag allegedly containing  N150,000 for a stranger who had begged him to do so for a fee of N5,000.

When Crime Guard visited the scene of the incident, an eye witness  who pleaded anonymity said awhite-beared elderly man  was seen at the early hours of Wednesday around the Festac link bridge, but no body took any special interest in him, as his presence there did not arouse any suspicion.

“The man had approached one of the sand dredgers under the bridge to ask  if he could help him retrieve a nylon bag containing his money from the canal, but the dredger told him he could not, and advised him to engage the service of a canoe peddler for the task.   T

“he bearded man left and returned between 12-1pm, this time in the company of another man that looked like they were friends, and  a younger man who appeared to be in his 20s.   The bearded man came down from the bridge with the young man who had pulled off his clothes and was wearing only a black striped boxer shorts. Both men went very close to the water and the young man dived in  from that edge ( pointing towards a  direction).

...The canal where the young man drown
…The canal where the young man drown

“The other man remained at the top of the bridge giving instructions to the young man in the  water.  What we were hearing from the man on the bridge was ‘no go to that side, yes, come back to this side’ while the unidentified young man was busy swimming to the directions of the man on the bridge.

All this while, the bearded man stood near the water watching. At a point, we noticed that the young man in the water was drowning and the men that brought him seemed unconcerned. He was seen trying to scream, calling for help while the water was pushing him further away.

At that point, the attention of people around were aroused; one of the boat men here  quickly got into his boat and paddled towards his direction, but before he got to him, he was already dead and was floating further away. The man on top of the bridge earlier giving instructions took to his heels when the young man started drowning. The bearded man who stood near the water watching tried to run away but was apprehended by people around.

What baffled every one was his nonchalant attitude towards a young man he brought here to help him retrieve his money from the canal. The body of the young man is still in the water and is expected to float out by tomorrow May 10.   The bearded suspect was about being lynched but for the timely arrival of the police,” he said.

“When asked where he brought the young man from, and how the money got into the canal in the first place, the eye witness continued “after he was caught, the bearded man told us that he bought corn at Mile-2 from a road side seller, after he finished eating, he mistakenly wrapped the N150,000 he had on him in the nylon bag, along side the corn, and threw it into the canal, that when he realized what he had done, effort to retrieve it proved abortive as the parcel was washed off, towards Festac Link road.   He was then advised to come to Festac link  bridge to search for it, which was why he went and got a young man from Mile-2 whom he had promised  N5,000 to do the job.”

Another eye witness to the incident added,  “If his story is true, why then did he feel unconcerned when the young man was getting drowned? Why was he not the first to raise alarm, knowing that people around will rally round to save the young man? He was also making calls in a very low tune after he was apprehended, who was he calling? Also why did his friend who was giving instructions on top of the bridge run away when he discovered that the young man has drowned?

” Going by their looks, and the car they came with, both men appeared well-to-do.  I believe there must be some sinister motives to their action. And recalling how everything happened, Who knows, it could be for rituals. When he was stripped off his shirt, the bearded man even has beads that looked like charms round his waist”, he stated.

Efforts to get the identity of the drowned man proved abortive.  The only clue was that he was brought from Mile 2 by the bearded man.  When Crime Guard visited Festac Police Station where the suspect was taken to, he was seen inside the office of the Divisional Crime Officer undergoing interrogation.

Police sources disclosed that while the interrogation was going on, frantic calls kept on coming to the suspect.  It got to a stage that the officer had to seize the handsets while interrogation continued.  As at yesterday, it was not possible to ascertain whether he was still in police custody or not,but a police source said they were seriously suspecting fowl play and no pressure from any quarter will make police not to conclude their investigation.


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