PATRICK OCHOGA, in this report, writes on the raging controversy and confusion over the disappearance of 11-year-old Victory Obasuyi at the Ogiso River, Benin City
2021 opened for the Obasuyi family of 8 Snamprogutti Street Ogiso Quarters, off Murtala Mohammed Way, Benin City, Edo State in a rather sad way: their only daughter, Victory Obasuyi, 11, disappeared in the Ogiso River.
Victory, a primary 5 pupil of Virginia Primary School, Benin City, was last seen on January 4, 2021 in the company of her neighbour’s children.
When LEADERSHIP Weekend visited the community, the mother of the missing girl, a 45-year-old petty trader who hails from Ondo State, was still in shock as she sat in front of their apartment completely lost in thought.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that a woman (name withheld), who visited the neighbour’s family allegedly took Victory and her neighbour’s children to the Ogiso River where she mysteriously disappeared.
As speculations and confusion continue to trail the whereabouts of the missing girl, the father, Kingsley Obasuyi, has vowed to stop at nothing to ensure his daughter is brought back home.
He expressed fear that his daughter may have been kidnapped or those involved in her disappearance might have used her for ritual purposes. He said his frustration was worsened by the way and manner men of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Edo State Police Command were handling the matter.
However, it was gathered that the case had been transferred to the office of the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in the zone.
Narrating his story to LEADERSHIP Weekend, Obasuyi said “On January 4, 2021, my 11-year old only daughter, Victory Obasuyi, was taken to the Ikpoba Riverside by Ogiso Street Benin City by one woman (withheld), I gathered that she came from Aduwawa to visit her friend who is my neighbour, one Mrs Sandra Iyore Asemota.
‘’I also learnt that the woman brought a white gallon to fetch water from the Ogiso Waterside of the Ikpoba River and that she took some children with her to the river.
‘’While going to the river for what seems like ritual-like and mysterious adventure, she went along with my only daughter Victory, her two children, her friend’s children and her friend’s tenant Mrs Joy.
‘’While embarking on the trip to the river they did not inform my wife that they were taking our daughter to the river. However, when my wife asked Mrs Sandra Iyore Asemota where our daughter was, she claimed that our daughter and children followed their friend to the river.
‘’The woman, Iyore Asemota and their cohorts came up with an absurd story that our only beloved daughter Victory Obasuyi fell inside the Ikpoba River at the Ogiso Waterside and we ran to the river to look for my daughter and we have not found her till today,’’ said Kingsley Obasuyi.
Speaking further he said the family had been in pains over the mysterious disappearance of the child.
“Since the incidence, which we doubt ever happened, we have been going to the river to check, we also brought divers from Ijaw and Itsekiri to the river, they all said same thing that there was no dead body in that river, that if there was a dead body in the river there would be signs like flies in the river and foul smell, adding the clothes and the shoes of our daughter would be seen floating on the river,’’ he said.
The father of the missing girl also said they brought in some traditional persons who specialized in locating drowned persons in the river but who also said nobody died in that river.
‘’They all told us to ask the people who took our child to the river to produce our child as they know what happened to her.
Victory’s father, however, expressed displeasure at the way the matter was treated by the police calling on the top echelon of the police, international organisations and well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of the family.
He said, “I am in tears and depressed, as I believe my child has either been trafficked by an international trafficking ring of which the culprits are part of or the culprits have used her for rituals. I will not rest until I bring to book all the culprits and their collaborators who should be removed from their positions for impeding impartial investigation into the matter.’’
He called for urgent steps to be taken to ensure the quick release of his daughter, insisting his daughter did not drown in the river.
The father of the missing girl wondered how the people involved did not raise an alarm when his child drowned as they claimed.
‘’They even exchanged friendly pleasantries with the people by the riverside before they left back without my child,’’ he alleged.
“We call on the IGP to send a special squad to Edo State Police Command to pick this case file and take up this case. This could open a can of worms that will be a key to solving some heinous crimes that will shock the world.
“The suspects and others were released from the State CID on Friday in a case of murder, suspected rituals when we have not seen our child. They think they can oppress us as poor people.
“When we got back to the station on Monday, 11 January, 2020 to the OC legal, State CID the culprits had done a petition against us.
“The OC legal asked us to go and bring more witnesses and while we were on our way, we were arrested by the police based on the petition, but after listening to all parties in the matter, the OC, anti-cultism said it was the same matter and that we should go back to the OC legal in the State CID, Edo State Command,’’ he added.
“We call for justice; our child can never go in vain. We believe that we will get justice, please help save our soul, save our daughter and help bring the culprits to book.
“I will fight this battle. I owe it to my family and to my beloved child. Please help us and do not let OC Ogumba and the culprits get away with this. My child will never go in vain and I believe she is alive, he added.
Edo State public police relations officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, who confirmed the incident, said some of the suspects in connection with the matter were arrested but granted administrative bail while investigations were ongoing.
“The command is aware of the case of the missing child Victory. I want to say that the matter is under the state criminal investigation department, SCID. Some handful of suspects have been arrested during the course of the investigation; they were given administrative bail and the case is still ongoing,’’ he said.
The main suspect, in a viral video, however, denied involvement in the matter and explained that she went to visit her friend who resides at Ogiso whose children spent Christmas and new year holidays in her house.
She stated: “After Christmas, my friend Sandra asked me to visit her at home which I did and she hosted me. When we got to Ogiso my friend called me and she heard my children and her children discussing that they wanted to go to a river. When I came out, I didn’t see any of them so I decided to rush to the river where I saw Rachel, Christabel, Mercy and Precious.
“I also saw four other children in the river on the other side. My children were bathing at the bank of the river. All of a sudden, I heard someone shouting that someone was drowning. Even a fisherman in a boat attempted to save the drowning girl. Only for the brother of Victory to run home and tell the parents about what happened.
“I was shocked when the parents of the girl came with a large crowd and started beating me; they tied my hands and wanted to set me ablaze. It took the intervention of the police to rescue me from the mob. I was detained at the state command for four days. I am a mother; I have never killed before in my life.’’