The Church members at the Surulere Baptist Church, Ojuelegba Road, Lagos State, were last Sunday, thrown into panic after two unidentified men sneaked into the church premises and abducted a three-year-old girl, Oluwabunmi Ajelero. We reported about it here.
It was gathered that the girl was playing with other children on the church premises at about 1pm when the kidnappers came in through the back of the church and tricked her out with Gala, a popular sausage, before whisking her away on a motorcycle.
Good news, guys, the little girl, has been found! She was rescued in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday by the police and reunited with her parents.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Oluwabunmi’s parents and other members of the church were inside the church immersed in the service when the incident happened.
The captors had pretended as members of the church and established rapport with children in the
church. Oluwabunmi’s friend cautioned her not to follow the strangers, who reportedly escaped through Nathan Street.
The service, it was learnt, was grounded when one of the toddler’s playmates alerted the congregation to the incident.
Speaking with Punch at about 8am on Monday, the victim’s father, Oladapo Ajelero, said the captors had contacted him on the phone, telling him to cooperate. He, however, said they had yet to request any ransom. He said:
“It happened around 1pm on Sunday. The children finished their service before us and were playing on the church premises; Oluwabunmi was among them.
Suddenly, one of her friends rushed in and said two men had lured and taken her away through the back of the church. Some people in the area said they saw her sitting between two men on a motorcycle. I learnt they escaped through Nathan Street.
Our hearts are broken, we don’t know what to do anymore. They have called and instructed me to cooperate. I am still expecting their calls, but for now they have not asked for any ransom.”
Oladapo explained further that one of his relatives went to Surulere Police Station to report, but he was told to come back and make a formal statement after 24 hours of the girl’s abduction.
PUNCH Metro who visited the church on Monday observed some members of the congregation lamenting the incident.
One of them, who identified herself only as Iya Tope, said she could not sleep throughout the night.
“It still appears to me like magic. I could not sleep. We have been praying over it since yesterday and I am sure she will come back to us safely,” she said.
A security guard of the church, Mr. Moses Oyedeji, said the kidnappers would have been rounded up if they had entered through the main entrance.
“I was on duty yesterday, but the children were playing at the back of the church. That was why I was not aware of the intrusion. It was when they had fled that her playmates said she was lured with Gala.”
A resident of the area, Simon Joseph, said he saw the girl, but he thought the men had come to the church for service.
“I was waiting for a friend outside when I saw those two men with the girl on a motorcycle. I thought they were family and were going back home until a few minutes later when people rushed out from the church and started looking for the girl,” he said.
A member of the church, who declined to mention his name, said that they learnt that the girl would be released if the family paid an undisclosed ransom to the kidnappers.
The Lagos Police spokesperson, DSP Kenneth Nwosu, however, said Olawunmi had been rescued by a police team drawn from divisions in the state, adding that he was not aware that the family paid any ransom. He said:
“The child has been found in Abeokuta, Ogun State and reunited with her parents. Investigations are ongoing to track down the kidnappers.”
The father, however, could not be reached for comments on the phone after the police confirmed that the girl had been rescued.