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Silence from kidnappers frightened me –Father of abducted six-year-old – Punch Newspapers


Thirty-nine-year-old Abuja-based plumber, Owuna Ewa, speaks to TEMITOPE ADETUNJI about the kidnap of his six-year-old daughter

How true is the report that your daughter was kidnapped by gunmen who raided your community?

It is very true and it has been a serious issue.

How did the incident happen?

I was not even around when the incident happened because I travelled to execute a job. It was my sister who also stays in the same community with us that heard about the incident and called me to inform me that my daughter had been kidnapped. I tried reaching my wife but her number wasn’t going through. She (wife) later told me that she lost her phone when the kidnappers were dragging her away. She even sustained a minor injury in the process because she fell down.

Were they armed?

Yes, they were armed with guns.

How many were they?

I wasn’t there. So, I can’t really tell, but according to what we heard, some said they were about 25 in number that invaded the community.

What came to your mind immediately when you couldn’t reach your wife?

At that point, I wasn’t really myself because I thought my wife had been kidnapped as well; I burst into tears and prayed silently. Although she and our youngest baby were initially kidnapped, the abductors heard the voices of the vigilantes and they released my wife and our youngest baby before leaving with our daughter.

How old is your daughter and what is her name?

Her name is Onye Ewa; she is six years old.

How many children do you have?

I have three children and there is my brother’s child living with us as well. I see him as my child too. He is 15 years old. The one that was kidnapped is my first child.

You mentioned that you were not around when the incident happened, where exactly were you on the day of the incident?

I was at work in the Mubi Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

Do you work there?

No. Like I said, I was there do some work. I don’t have a permanent place where I work and with the kind of job I do, it is mostly contract-related jobs and there are times I have to travel. I could spend three or four months at times while executing the jobs.

What kind of work do you do?

I am into business; I am into plumbing and laying of blocks (bricklayer).

What is your wife’s occupation?

She has a little provisions store in our house.

Where and when was your daughter kidnapped?

The incident happened at Yangoji, Kwali Area Council, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. It was around 11pm on the 6th of June. It was on a Tuesday that the kidnappers invaded our community. They broke into our house. I was told that the kidnappers came from the bush. This is not the first time they had been coming. They had invaded our community more than seven times and we heard stories of how they had been entering into people’s houses and whisking them away.

So, when they broke into my house, they ordered my wife to follow them, including our daughter. My wife was with the baby. My son, the second born, who is four years old, and my brother’s child were inside the room at the time the incident happened. However, the door was locked and those kidnappers didn’t even know that those ones were inside the room. So, when my wife and the children were taken away, the kidnappers heard the sound of the vigilantes and ran away with my daughter, leaving my wife and our three-month-old baby.

Did you report the incident to the police?

The police and soldiers came and took a report but I haven’t heard anything from them yet.

When and what did they tell you?

They (police and soldiers) came on the 7th of June, they asked everyone to cooperate with vigilantes for more security. They also said they would get back to us but we have not heard from them.

Do you have any issue or misunderstanding with anyone?

Not at all! I don’t fight people; I don’t think I have any misunderstanding with anyone that would have turned out as revenge by seeking the kidnap of my child. I am an easy-going person, and I don’t look for troubles. I am a man of the people; I don’t think I have enemies around me.

Is your daughter the only kidnapped victim?

My daughter is not the only kidnapped victim; there are other people that were kidnapped from other houses as well. I also heard that they targeted a particular missionary but they didn’t meet him at home. We heard that some months back that they dropped a letter at his gate and in that letter, they wrote that they were coming for the man. So, the man has left his house for safety.

How has the situation affected you physically and emotionally?

The situation has affected every part of me. It is not easy to raise a child and the child is nowhere to be found. It is a terrible situation and it still feels like a dream to me. It is scary and now I have realised that it is the reality that my child was really kidnapped.

How have you and your wife been coping?

The entire family has been sad; it is a terrible situation. Such has never happened in my family before. My family and I have been thrown into panic after my daughter was kidnapped. It’s not been easy in all sincerity; my wife is currently sick. You know women can be very emotional. She has a three-month-old baby and this situation has become the worst experience I have ever had. One thing that gives me faith is that there have not been cases like this in my family; I believe that my child will come back by God’s grace. I have been praying and fasting every day to get my daughter back. I believe in God that my child will come back safe; I have faith that God will protect her. I miss my daughter so much. I remember how we used to talk on the phone whenever I travelled to work; she was always praying for me on the phone, asking me if I was doing well, she is a smart little girl.

What are the good memories you have about her?

Well, I remember she once told me that she would like to become a soldier in the Nigerian Army when she grows up. I want that dream to come through for her. I have promised to enrol her in the Nigerian Defence Academy when she completes her primary education if God will bless me. I have been working hard so that I can fulfil that aim for her. I miss her so much, I miss those times she would come back from school and do her assignments and play a little before going to bed.

Have the kidnappers reached out and were you asked to pay any ransom?

There was a day they called me and told me they were with my daughter. My in-law was the person they called. So, he later gave them my number and they called me. That was the last communication I had with them, but any other communication from them was with my in-law.

Have the kidnappers asked for any ransom? I have not bothered to ask my in-law because I have told him that anything concerning ransom, I don’t have money.

Were you afraid when you didn’t hear from the kidnappers a day after they took your daughter away?

In fact, I was frightened and I am still afraid now. I am totally confused, but I believe that they will call because it is something that has been happening in the community.

What do you intend to do if your daughter is released?

I will give a testimony in church if my daughter gets released from the kidnappers’ den; in fact, I am going to be the happiest man on earth.

I will be happier than the new President of Nigeria if my child is released.

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