The family of a 33-year-old woman, Folashade Odumola, has expressed worry over her whereabouts seven days after attending the monthly Holy Ghost Service at the Redeemed Camp organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God at Mowe, Ogun State.
Odumola was last seen by her family when she left her Egbeda home at about 1pm to see some customers at Isolo before heading for the service.
The first of six children and a trader in women’s jewelry, Odumola was said to have called her younger sister, Opeyemi, on the telephone about 5pm to inform her that she was still at Isolo.
Opeyemi said, “Odumola usually takes her wares to her customers at their place of work; she has customers in both private and public institutions. Last Friday, she went to the Isolo LG. She called me at about 5pm to tell me that she was still there.
“After some hours, she called me again at about 10pm to say she had arrived safely at the Redeemed camp.
She added that that was the last time she had heard from Odumola.
For the last six years, Odumola was said to have maintained a routine. Whenever she attended the Friday camp service which usually lasted throughout the night, she would return home the next day by 6am.
Opeyemi said, “At first when she didn’t show up between 6am and 7, no one called. We all assumed she had stopped by the market to buy some ingredients. She had been contracted to bake a friend’s birthday cake that day.
“By 8am, we began to be worried and started calling her. The phone would ring repeatedly but someone at the other end kept cutting the call. It wasn’t until 5pm on Saturday that a man eventually answered the call. He had an Igbo accent.”
The stranger did not identify himself and did not answer Opeyemi’s questions about her sister’s whereabouts. Instead the stranger was said to have queried her on what her sister’s occupation was. Opeyemi was said to have replied that she was a student and asked the stranger what he was doing with Odumola’s phone.
“When he wouldn’t give me a direct answer, I asked him where he was and he told me he was at Alausa. I quickly boarded a bus and headed for Ikeja with my twin sister. When we got there, we called the guy to get the exact location, only for him to say he was at Badagry. That was when we realised that he wasn’t serious,” Opeyemi recalled.
Worried by the development, Opeyemi and her twin sister went to the Ikeja Police Station to report but they were referred back to Egbeda since it was their place of residence. By 5pm, the sisters made a report at the Afonka Police Division, Shasha.
“On our way back from the station, we ran into a member of our parish at Akowonjo who asked after Odumola. We told the woman she was not with us since we couldn’t tell her that she had gone missing.
This same woman later told us that she called Odumola’s phone later that night about 8pm and that two Igbo guys picked the phone and were making jest of her. They didn’t say anything about Odumola. Since then, both her MTN and Airtel lines have not been available,” Opeyemi said.
An in-law to the family, Abiodun Kayode, said the family had searched every nook and cranny of both Lagos and Ogun State without result.
He said, “I have been to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and Igbobi hospital severally; we wanted to make sure that Odumola was not at their emergency wards. Eventually on Monday, I went to the Mowe Police Division to make a report. I also went to Redeemed Camp and met with their security personnel. I was directed to a police post within the camp and they told me that there was no person like Odumola there.”
Kayode told PUNCH Metro that the Odumola family later learned that the Friday camp service ended by 2am
He said, “Although no one knows if Odumola had made the decision to leave the camp immediately, there are always commercial buses parked within the camp to take people back to their various destinations. Even if Odumola had left at that time, she would not have been the only person in the bus as many persons attend that camp service.”
Opeyemi said her parents were taking their child’s disappearance seriuosly. She said, “Our parents are taking this badly. Our mother had to relocate from Ibadan where she lives with our father to join us in Lagos. It has not been easy for us all since then.”
The Deputy Police Public Relations Officer for the Lagos Command, Mr. Damascus Ozoani, confirmed the incident. He said, “We cannot say categorically that this is a kidnap.
If it were the abductors they would have asked for money; there would have been some communication with Odumola’s family. However, we have begun investigation to ascertain Odumola’s whereabouts.”