Encounter: How two Lagos kids could’ve got missing

By Rotimi Akinola

Selfie with two of the  numerous vulnerable Lagos kids.
Selfie with two of the numerous vulnerable Lagos kids.

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align:justify;”>Thank God the Orekoya kids are back home with their parents. While the search for the three Lagos kids abducted by their nanny dragged on last week, I had an encounter with two other kids in Yaba area of the state, an incident which suggested poor Nigerian children stand the risk of kidnapping… a huge one.

Rashidat, 11, and her nine-year-old brother, Nuru, were not considered too young to be sent on a one kilometer journey from their humble home in Iwaya to the popular Yaba market where I met them.

“Our mummy sent us here,” the girl told me as I joined them in a tricycle. The children were carrying a sack filled with waterleaf which they said was meant for domestic consumption.

“Are you sure the leaves are not for sale?” I asked.

“No, we are going to cook and eat them,” was the reply.

The children, who told me they hail from Kebbi State, speak Yoruba quite well, and English moderately, I noticed.

They said they were not afraid to travel that far without an overseeing adult. I t was obviously not the first time.

Their father had gone to work, they said, and their mother was probably too busy with other chores she saw no qualms in exposing her two young children this way.

I really felt concerned anyone, in a land were child traffickers, money-grubbing kidnapers and ritualists lurk around the clock, would send children that far out on their own.

“Didn’t you hear of the three children kidnapped by their nanny yesterday?” I asked the kids (this encounter took place last Thursday).

“Which children?” Rashidat said.

I almost started trying to say “You didn’t know? It’s all over the news na”…Oh, I realized I was chatting with kids who wouldn’t understand.

“Okay, I am going to follow you home to fight your mum,” I announced. The children immediately made it clear that would not happen.

They were friendly…you know how kids are. They even allowed me take a selfie with them, and answered my every query with juvenile innocence, but they totally rejected the idea of taking me to their mum…to fight her (Gosh! What was I thinking?).

When we alighted from the vehicle at Iwaya, the children said they would not go home till I was gone.

“We don’t want you at our house,” they said.

“Will your mum beat you if I insist?” I asked.

“No,” Rashidat said after a moment’s hesitance.

“Okay, I won’t go with you but tell your mum this errand is too dangerous. There are kidnappers out there.”

Being innocent kids, Rashidat and Nuru were likely not to consider the chat an important one. If I were a kidnapper, Lagosians would probably be reading another kidnap story.

Okay, that’s what happened last Thursday. I know it’s not such a great encounter. Maybe I should’ve kidnapped them and demanded a $20bn ransom. Evil people…always looking forward to read sad news *straight face*.

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