August 13, 2015 – Picture: Dad Of Child Kidnapped During Naming In Abeokuta Begs Ifa Priests In Egbaland To Help Recover Missing Toddler From Runaway Native Doctor
Over 2 weeks after his son mysteriously disappeared, the father of 20-month-old Opeyemi Ogundele, allegedly stolen at a christening ceremony in Inukosegba, Akorede Estate, Mile II in Abeokuta North Local Government Area of Ogun State, has appealed to Ifa priests and traditional worshippers in Egbaland to help him rescue his first and only child from the stranglehold of an Ifa priest and who is the prime suspect.
The suspect whose whereabouts has yet to be ascertained by the police is said to be holding on to Ogundele’s baby. Ogundele claims “traditional means” reveals that his son is still alive in the hands of his abductor.
Opeyemi had on Sunday, July 26, disappeared mysteriously during a naming ceremony organized by the family of Mr. Olusola Osunleke for their newborn.
The search for the kidnapped toddler later resulted in the discovery of a suspected ritualists’ den located opposite the Osunlekes house and owned by the run-away Ifa priest. Angry residents had subsequently stormed the area and vandalized the building, inside which human body parts, effigy, fetish objects and masquerade regalia, among others, were found.
But over two weeks ago, 30-year-old Daniel Ogundele claimed that the run-away Ifa priest had told him on phone that his missing son was still alive in his custody at Isabo area of Abeokuta. He claimed that the run-away Ifa priest, however, requested that he should try and stop the angry residents of the area from destroying his house. He added that the run-away suspect had assured that he would get his son back but he should ensure the security of his property.
But the Ifa priest’s building housing the shrine had since been pulled down by angry youths in the community. And contrary to his earlier promise of returning the missing child, the run-away Ifa priest has since vanished into thin air with the toddler. His phone has also since been switched off.
The distraught father who had yet to have a change of clothing since the incident, is, however, making a passionate appeal to the colleagues of the run-away Ifa priest to prevail on him to return his child whom he had allegedly abducted and held hostage in an unknown hideout. He says that he and his wife went through a “tough time” before they could give birth to the child.
Ogundele stressed that the Ifa priests and traditional worshippers should allow the milk of human kindness flow through their veins by urgently compelling the suspect to return his son. He expressed hope that his son could still be found alive, disclosing that since the police have yet to arrest the runaway Ifa priest, his family members had used “traditional means to ascertain that the toddler was still alive but held captive in “a compound” in an unidentified location:
“The stolen child is mine, he’s my first and only child. I know what I and my wife went through to have this child. So, we are appealing to all Nigerians to help me search and return my child. Since this incident, I’ve found it impossible to either eat or drink; I’ve lost my appetite for food because that’s my only child. I find it difficult to even sleep.
“Please, Nigerians and all the Babalawos in Egbaland should help me retrieve my son from the run-away Ifa priest. We are sure he has my son with him because the last time we called him, he confirmed that he’s holding on to my son. But he gave a condition that if his house was not vandalized or destroyed, he would return my son. But now that they have demolished his house, he has yet to return my son.
“My people went to inquire through traditional means and it was confirmed to them that he’s still alive and in the hands of the suspect in one compound, but they were not able to reveal the exact location.”
Similarly, the father of the newborn baby that was to be christened before 20-month-old Opeyemi was allegedly stolen, Osunleke said: “I’m the father of the baby to be named. The child stolen is the son of my junior sister. The child got missing within 10 minutes. But the Babalawo was as at the last time we called him on the phone still saying that the child was still with him.
“Nigerians should please help appeal to the him to return the child. The police have told us they are still working on the matter. The Babalawo’s house is close to ours. I normally walk past the house everyday and we never knew he was doing such a thing. It was immediately after this incident that the whole area was taken over by this putrid stench.
“But we want to appeal to all the babalawos to please help us recover our child. Since the stolen child can no longer be used for ritual, they should return him to us. The child can no longer be useful to them.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, had claimed ignorance of the toddler’s father’s claims. He said though the Ifa priest was still on the run, the police had already arrested two suspects in connection with the alleged abduction of the child:
“The prime suspect is still at large. But two suspects have been arrested. We have not seen the baby but investigation is ongoing. We assure the people of the state that we are going to unravel the mystery behind the incident. On the claims by the baby’s father, we (police) are not aware. If the man has such information, I think he should have told the police.”
[Reported By SEGUN OLATUNJI, Daily Sun Abeokuta]