The house, situated on No 3, Alhaji Jamiu Sulaimon Street was in ruins. The two buildings in the compound were torched, asbestos roofing sheets vandalized with household utensils, including fans, cooking pots, clothes and others littering all the available space. The high wall fence was also not spared, as two big holes were dug in it and the main gate pulled down.
Gaining access to the derelict house was not too difficult, but it took courage for our correspondent to enter there alone. Aside the remnants of the burnt house, women and children’s clothes littered the entire compound.
A splatter of blood on the walls of the particular toilet where the victim was tortured before being rescued was still visible. A further attempt to close the door from behind reveals more heavy smears of blood on the wall tiles, which also dotted the door.
The street, which has won itself the sobriquet of Soka Street by residents was deserted, the few people sighted, upon seeing The Guardian reporter coming out of the building, increased their pace. Those caught up with, refused to talk on the issue.
A landlord on the street, Arufulai Ayinde (a.k.a Kannakanna), who said that the detection of the place and rescue of Paulinus Nweke, an 18-year old belt hawker, who was abducted for ritual purpose, was made possible by the cooperation of the residents, accused the police of keeping them in the dark on the condition of the rescued boy and investigations made so far to apprehend those behind the dastardly act.
Unlike reports in national dailies that the incident occurred on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, it was learnt from Ayinde that the unpleasant incident happened on Monday, June 9, 2014 around 3:30pm, when two brothers were hawking on the street. The victim, who was hawking belts was called inside the house with the pretence of buying belt from him, but after 30 minutes, the brother, who was hawking underwears, told some passers-by that he heard his brother calling for help from the house.
The alarm raised by the passers-by attracted other residents of the sleepy community, who converged at the entrance of the locked gate, while some reported the incident at Itele Police Division. The Police search team later came and gained access to the house, where they met a man who took the police round the whole house without seeing the boy as reported.
After the police left the scene, street urchins, popularly called Area Boys, laid siege on the area till dawn, insisting the boy was still in the house. Later on Tuesday, after pupils of the two private primary schools situated opposite and beside the house had closed for the day, the area boys called on the police again for another search and the boy, soaked in the pool of his own blood after being matcheted several times and locked up in the toilet, was detected.
It was revealed that the suspected ritualists, sensing the danger ahead, inflicted machete wounds on the boy and ran away.
A woman, who operates a school close to the house, also corroborated Ayinde’s claim. She noted that it was the insistence of the youths and street urchins that made it possible to get the boy out of the house, adding that though she couldn’t enter the building like others due to fear, but that the report of the discovery of objects recovered from the house was shocking.
It was learnt that it was after the rescue and arrest of the suspected culprits that angry youths set the building ablaze.
Though the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi earlier disclosed that the suspects had been transferred to the Department of Criminal Investigation, Eleweran, Abeokuta, and the victim receiving treatment in a hospital, residents of the community are kicking that the police have kept them in the dark.
They noted that the loud silence of the Police on the issue might be a sort of cover-up on the case. They appealed that the Police should come out and brief them on the efforts made so far on the apprehension of other accomplices who fled the scene of the crime.
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