According to a report by Punch Metro, there was panic among residents of Amadi Street in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Sunday after a strange woman disappeared with two kids at a playground located in the area.
The kids were identified as three-year-old Goodnews Friday and one-year-old Prosper Solomon.
Speaking on how his daughter was taken away, Goodnews’ father, Nelson Friday, said the incident happened after the family returned from church around 2.00 p.m.
He said on Tuesday that the children were at the playground when an unidentified woman came and lured Prosper away, while his daughter followed them.
Nelson explained that a young lady, who saw the strange woman with the two children, did not raise the alarm because she thought that the woman was related to one of the kids.
He stated, “On Sunday, a woman took my daughter away and my neighbour’s son. I was in the house with my wife. My neighbour’s son came out to meet my daughter and the two of them went to the playground.
“Soon after, my first daughter came in and asked if I had seen Goodnews; I told her that I did not see her. One lady saw them and asked the three-year-old girl where she was going and the little girl said she was following Prosper.
“She said the woman turned her face away and quickly took the children away. The incident happened around 2.00 p.m. after we came back from church. After we look for them that Sunday and could not find them, we rushed to the church.
“Later, we went to the police station at Amadi and we were told to wait for 24 hours. Even yesterday (Monday), they did not say anything encouraging and we decided to go to the Mile One Police Station, when we heard that they caught somebody with stolen children.
“When we got to the Mile One Police Station, they told us that nothing like that (arrest of suspected child thief) happened. They now told us to go to the state police command headquarters on Moscow Road. There, they told us to write a statement and they collected the photographs of the two kids.”
The father of four appealed to security agencies to help rescue his child from the strange woman, adding that he was still in shock as to how a person would take two kids away from the street without anybody noticing it.
His wife, Happiness, corroborated what her husband said and pleaded with Nigerians to have mercy on her and raise the alarm should they locate the two kids.
A resident of the area, who identified herself simply as Esther, told our correspondent that she saw the woman going with the three-year-old girl, while Prosper followed them unknowingly.
Esther stated, “She (the suspected child thief) was a young woman and light in complexion. When I saw her with the two children, I strongly believed that one of them was related to her. The woman soon disappeared with the children.
“When we realised what happened, some youths immediately blocked the two main gates into the community. But it was too late; the woman had already gone with the kids.”
Another resident of the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that since the incident happened, children in the area always held hands while moving on the road in order to avoid being kidnapped.
The resident added that parents in the area had begun to insist that their children stay indoors so as to avoid a repeat of the incident.
However, efforts made to reach Prosper’s parents, Mr and Mrs Life Solomon, were not successful as some residents of the area informed our correspondent that they were on their way to Akwa Ibom.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Nnamdi Omoni, told Southern City News that he was out of the state and was not aware of the incident.