The following was received from a resident of the Monastery Road corridor.
We must all be watchful and above all, pray for God's protection.
I will be raising the issue will the management of Novare Lekki Mall as well.
" *Posted as received"*
All protocols duly observed . I'm new here and I understand this is completely outside the issues on ground but I really think it's important I share my experience which is also a testimony in the hands of KIDNAPPERS recently. Hopefully , we could all learn from this and tighten our security measures.
My name is Stephanie Ezenwa . I live at no 24 , in this estate .
On the 11th of June which is about 4 days ago , I took my 14 year old younger brother to Lekki Novare mall here in Sangotedo or shoprite as it is popularly called so he could have a haircut and I could do some grocery shopping as well . This is really an eye opener because we hear of kidnappers everyday but we have no idea how close they are to us and their evil modes of operation.
We got to the mall at about 6.30 pm that Sunday evening and while we were shopping together at games store , I figured it's best he goes to cut his hair while I continue with the shopping in order to save time as well as beat the closing hour of the store and salon . So I gave him some money for his haircut and since I'd be needing some assistance on pushing about 3 trolleys to the car park , I asked him to go put the already purchased dispenser bottles in the truck before proceeding to the salon which is also in the same mall at invivo's store to be precise.
I wasn't worried leaving him by himself because I felt he was old enough and I don't really see him as a kid . He's actually very smart and hardworking for his age . Besides, that wasn't the first time we've separated to unite later in the same mall with the same kind of scenario and because the mall is very close to the house, I couldn't really imagine that something could go wrong.
When I was done shopping , I went to Invivo store (the salon ) to pick him up , but he wasn't there as a matter of fact the salon was already closed even though the store was still opened. I asked the security officials in the store if they'd seen him and they said no . At this point, I wasn't worried yet , I thought he might be at the car park waiting for me . I got to the car park but he wasn't there as well . I opened the truck and found the dispenser bottles I had asked him to keep earlier . I ran my eyes around the park and there wasn't any trace of him. I called his number several times but the network was really bad so it couldn't connect and when it eventually did , the phone was said to be switched off.
Fear began to set in as all kinds of thoughts started running through my mind as to where he might be . "could he be using the rest room ? , did he go back to the store to look for me ? , did he run into a friend and got carried away ? Was his battery flat before leaving the house ? " At this point, I had virtually walked around the whole mall and I still couldn't find him . I alerted the mall's security immediately and I must say that they're the worst set of security officials , I'd ever dealt with. They seemed clueless on what to do , very incompetent bunch. All they kept saying was that a 14 year old cannot get lost in the mall, that he probably went somewhere else.
I know my boy would never do such a thing . I requested that they check their CCTV camera but they claimed that they have to wait for their boss to come before they could do anything and it's even against their policy to go looking at the cameras in the control room . They suggested I go check him at home since my house is close by.
As the night got darker , I could feel the darkness of my reality. I'd already informed my husband and mum of the situation and had driven to the estate to ask the gatemen if they'd seen him but the sound of their "no" killed the last hope I had left . However, I drove to the house anyway to clear all doubts but he wasn't there .
Long story short , I drove back to the mall to look for him . At this point , I'd started jumping, screaming and creating a scene . I'd gotten help to look for him around the mall again . According to the security officials, the CCTV camera only captured him walking out of the mall with the trolley to the car park, it didn't show what happened at the car park and they never saw him go back inside the mall . they still wouldn't allow me gain access to the control room to see for myself. To crown it all , the CCTV camera situated at the main entrance to the mall (entrance gate) isn't working!
We were already on our way to the Ajiwe police station to report the incident at about 10:40pm when I got a call from my mum. She told me a custom officer had just called her to say he found him in MARINA wondering about and that he intends to hand him over to the nearest police station.
Miraculously, we went to the police station, Area A command in lion's building and FOUND HIM. He was hale and hearty.
Apparently , it was a case of "touch and follow" . According to my brother , he was walking back to the mall from the car park when someone tapped him on his hand , immediately he turned to find out who it was , that was the end . He didn't remember anything else that must have happened. All he remembered was that he found himself running in the middle of a busy road ( Marina) and everywhere was dark .
Thank God for the custom officer who found him and while interrogating him was able to get my mum's number from him as he didn't remember mine and couldn't find his phone nor the money he had.
Obviously, his kidnappers must have changed their minds as my boy's spirit was too strong for them so they decided to dump him in marina. How they got there , we have no idea. Is it by bus, a private car , did they disappear ? we have no clue.
Overall , we're grateful to God for his grace and mercy . We would have be saying a different story by now but he delivered us from the hands of the wicked . We owe it all to HIM. This is indeed a great miracle !
Lessons learnt from this ,
0. Kidnappers are everywhere and even closer to us than we might think
0. Parents should really watch out for the children in close range especially at public places, regardless of their age .
0. Parents should ensure their kids can recite all their parents' phone numbers by heart. Including knowing their house address.
However , in the case of "touch and follow " , no one is really safe , even an adult could fall victim . We can only rely on God's protection.
My apologies for not making this as brief as I had originally planned. Thank you all so much for your audience. Let's all be guarded.
*Please broadcast to all of our neighbors.* *Let us look out for one another and pray for God's protection wherever we may go.*
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