By Evelyn Usman
LAGOS—Since the incident of September 16, 2015, when nine operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, were reportedly ambushed and killed by vandals at Konu area of Ikorodu, Lagos, occurred, normalcy seems to have returned in the area as activities are still going on in full swing.
While family members of the missing operatives allege that officials of the DSS still claim that their men were alive and that they were making frantic efforts to locate their whereabouts, neither the police nor the government has come out with a concrete pronouncement about the fate of the DSS operatives.
Anguish and sorrow pervade homes
But same can not be said of the homes of the slain operatives, as dead silence pervades everywhere, with family members devastated beyond words. Anguish and sorrow still hover over their abode like a thick darkness.
A chance meeting with some of the family members showed that they are yet to come to terms with the true position of the fate of their loved ones. This is because the DSS reportedly informed them that their assumed dead bread winners were still alive after all, in spite of glaring evidence contradicting its assertion.
At the moment, there is mixed feeling of uncertainty and fear in their respective homes as they look forward each day with great expectation, to the warm embrace of their loved ones . This is, if the assurance from DSS, is anything to go by.
Family member opens up
Among those at cross roads are family members of one of the missing operatives, identified simply as Obiora. He told Vanguard that his light-complexioned brother was one of the best hands when it came to cracking hard cases such as high profile kidnap and murder cases.
He said: “While earlier report had it that Obiora, alongside his other colleagues, went to Konu area of Ikorodu, that fateful day to effect the arrest of vandals who were siphoning petroleum products from a broken pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, we were reliably informed that they were on a mission to track kidnappers of the wife of the Deputy General Manager of THE SUN newspapers , Mrs Toyin Nwosu, who was abducted by robbers who invaded her Ago Okota home, two days earlier.
“The operatives described as the best hands for such operation, were on the kidnappers trail, unfortunately, they ran into an ambush by the vandals who opened fire on sighting them. Even in the face of death, the operatives were said to have gallantly repelled their enemies. Surprisingly, since the incident occurred , no official statement has been released by the DSS nor has the issue been deliberated on at any level of government.”
I spoke with Obiora two hours before the incident —Brother
Worried by the seeming silence on the whereabouts of his brother Obiora , and other operatives who went on the suicidal mission , an upcoming hip-hop artist and actor, Don Saint ,described the whole scenario as a horror movie. He disclosed that few hours before the incident was reported, he spoke with his brother, Obiora, on the phone, and he disclosed that they were on a mission to rescue Mrs Nwosu, unknown to him that the conversation might be the last with him.
He said: “When I called my brother on that fateful day, he told me they were in a hide-out around Ikorodu, tracking kidnappers of The Sun newspaper’s Deputy Managing Director’s wife. I called to discuss an issue with him. He promised to get back to me at an appropriate time. My sister also called him and he said same thing. But two hours later, when I logged on to the internet, I was shocked to my bone marrow to read the news of what happened at Konu. Immediately, I called his line again to ascertain the report. But it was not going.
“Two days later, I visited the DSS office at Magodo estate and the person we saw told me and other family members that came that ‘ they are alive and fine. ‘Don’t mind the news you have read online. They went on a mission. They are fine’ . Again, on Monday , September 21, 2015, I and other family members of the affected operatives met with the State Director of DSS and he still said same thing. By Tuesday, it will be one month that my brother and other operatives went missing. The painful aspect of it all is that the government they worked for has not reached out to the families to know how they are faring. My brother has a young wife and two little children who keep asking me about the whereabouts of their father.
“This is an evidence of the fact that we are in a country where human life is not valued. Or how do you explain the long silence from the DSS and government? If they are alive, where are they ? Now, I know what families of the missing CHIBOK girls are going through . This is like a horror movie. Such will never happen in the advanced world. My family has been broken since then. What we need is an official report from the DSS . Let them tell us what is happening.
Endless wait by aged parents
Obiora’s younger brother and immediate family in Lagos are not alone in this state of anguish. His aged parents back in Anambra State, as well as members of their community, are also said to be in a state of shock. This is because Obiora was described as the cynosure of all eyes in both his family and the community at large.
According to a relative who also spoke on condition of anonymity, “ We do not want to believe he is dead as assured by the DSS. But our worry is that he has never gone on any official duty and stayed this long. He is a loving husband and father who always spoke with his wife and children of ages one and three, on daily basis. His intimidating height and build is the envy of every rational thinking person.
Vanguard gathered that while the family members are hoping to see their loved ones as assured by the DSS, they have resorted to spiritual intervention through prayers. It was gathered that the outcome of some of the prayer houses showed positive light while others enjoined the families to keep praying.