A mother, whose two children, Chidera Iloka (four) and Kamsiyochukwu Iloka (two), disappeared from their school, has been hospitalised.
The woman, Rosemary Ezekwere, was said to have collapsed and was rushed to the hospital after she couldn’t find the children in school.
The incident was said to have occurred at Igwedumma Nursery and Primary School in Amawbia Awka South Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State.
The police said the incident occurred last week.
The Head Teacher of the school, Mrs. Anene Stella, said the children were in nursery one and two respectively.
Stella said that the children were discovered missing after school hours on July 3.
She said: “We had a meeting with the Education Secretary at Awka South Local Government Area; I went for that meeting. The meeting lasted till the close of school hour, which around 2.10p.m. After our meeting, I went home and didn’t go back to the school. About 4p.m., I was at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Awka, to attend a meeting when I received a call from one of my teachers, saying that they were looking for the two children. I had to rush to the school to confirm. When I got to the school, I met the mother and other teachers.
They all looked confused.
“I quickly called the Education Secretary of the local government and reported the development to him. He directed that I should go to the police immediately to report. I went to the Central Police Station, Awka, where I was told that two men had been there to lodge a complaint of the missing children. The police took my number and asked me to come back the following day.”
Stella explained that the following day, she returned to the police station. But the situation was still the same.
The children’s distraught mother, who said that she was a new person in Amawbia town, said: “I came here around January because I got employment with the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service. When I went to register the children, I approached Stella. I told her that I was living alone in Amawbia because my husband lives in our village, where he does his business. I was newly employed. I pleaded with her that at the moment, I had no helper. I wanted to know if one of the teachers could assist me to look after the children, after school hours. She then asked me how old they were. I told her that they were two years old and four years old.”
Rosemary stated that it was at that point that Stella told her that the pre-nursery teacher couldn’t do what she was asking, because the teacher was, “a Parents Teachers Association (PTA) teacher.”
Rosemary said: “Stella suggested that I should go and meet the nursery 2A teacher. I met the teacher and explained my predicament. She agreed she could stay till 3p.m. I was pregnant then, and not too strong. I used to call and tell her where I was and when I would be in the school to pick the children. She did it faithfully throughout last term. But on that fateful day, I came to the school at 2p.m. prompt. When I entered their classrooms, none of the teachers was around in the classes. I couldn’t see my children. I saw their bags and their lunch boxes. I opened their lunch boxes and found the food was untouched.
“I saw other children, who I used to meet in their classes. I asked whether they had seen Chidera and his sister, they said no. I rushed out of the school compound to see if they were playing outside. I saw others, but not my children.”
At this point, Rosemary was frantic; she rushed back into the school. She alerted a teacher and he joined her in searching for the children.
Rosemary added: “It was at this point that the teacher of the nursery 2B surfaced. I asked her about the children, she said she left them in the class. She said their teacher told her to look after the kids when she was going to the market. But while she was in the class, the head teacher called and asked her to bring her BVN number to her because the one she submitted was not complete. She had to go home to bring it.
“I couldn’t listen anymore. I rushed to my house, hoping to see them. I alerted my neighbours and we all started looking for them. We searched everywhere and even went to church.”
Rosemary said that she had to call her husband to alert him of their missing children. She also reported the matter to her landlord.
She added: “I’m legally married and my husband is from Ibughubu village Umuchu Aguata, Local Government Area. I have no problem with my husband.
This is my fifth year in the marriage. We wedded in 2013. My husband went to the school and later in the evening, my husband and our landlord went to lodge a report with the police, but they said he should wait until 24 hours. They also engaged the services of town crier, who went round Amawbia that night, announcing the disappearance of the children.”
The father of the missing kids, Chinonso, said that nobody had been arrested since the incident. He said the school management went to the police, and that none of the teachers was detained or seriously interrogated.
Speaking on the matter, Very Reverend Valentine Ofoma said that he went to the police station in solidarity with the school because it is located in the same compound with the church. He explained that the school is owned by Anambra State government, and “we share the same compound.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Harunna Mohammed, confirmed the incident.
He said: “The command received a report of the missing persons, identified as Chidera Iloka and Kamsiyochukwu Iloka, all students of Igwedimma Primary School, Amawbia. They are children of Mr Chinonso and Rosemary Ezekwere. The report was lodged at the Central Police Station, Awka last week and investigation is ongoing to ascertain the circumstances surrounding their disappearance and embark on possible rescue operation.”
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