Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
Twenty-five days after leaving home for school with his sibling on Thursday July 18, a three-year-old pupil of a nursery school in an Abia community is yet to return home.
Little Ekperedike Great Emneze, a pre-nursery class pupil at the Christian Nursery and Primary School, Umuaku, Isuochi, left home in the school bus about 7.30 am on the fateful day with his elder sister. But he didn’t return home with her.
The incident has thrown the Emeze family of Umuogbu, Umucha, Amuda Isuochi, in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State into inconsolable grief.
When the reporter visited the family, it was discovered that Ekperedike’s mother, Madam Precious Chinenye has become a shadow of her usual self. The mother of three boys and two girls hardly eats, drinks or sleeps. The mysterious disappearance of her last child seems to have driven her into near-insanity.
When the reporter visited, she constantly stared into space, offering no response to any question asked her. She would cry out in a loud voice at intervals, calling on her little boy to come back home.
A relation of hers, who pleaded anonymity, said the woman had not been feeding well. He said Madam Chinenye would also collapse at times, and sympathizers would pour water on her to revive her.
“She would wake up at midnight and start crying in a very loud voice, calling the name of her son to come home. Because of the trauma, the husband, who is a timber dealer, no longer goes out but wait on her, as no one is sure of when she would slip into unconsciousness. They now live at the mercy of friends and well wishers, who come to sympathize with them,” the relation said.
It was gathered also that Ichie Godwin Emeze, the boy’s father, no longer goes out to do his job at the Timber Market outlet where he trades.
Police report, made available to Daily Sun confirmed that the boy went to school in the school bus but did not return home.
“By the time school dismissed at 3.15 pm, when others started boarding the bus, Ekwedike was nowhere to be found. The senior sister, Precious, rushed to his class, but he was not there, went round the school compound, there was no trace of him anywhere.
“A message was then sent to his father that his son, who came to the school in the morning, was nowhere to be found. And On Friday, July 19, he went to the police station to make a report about the missing child, believing that the police would at least do something to find the child. Today is exactly 25 days after the incident. The whereabouts of the pupil has remained a mystery to both the police, parents and relations of the child,” the reporter learnt.
The class teacher confirmed that Ekperedike was in her class until school closed, and that it was only at the time when the bus was about leaving that the elder sister, Precious, discovered that he was not in the bus. By this time, his teacher had left the school, leaving behind the pupils.
Police also said that the school is not properly fenced and has no security outfit to protect the pupils. They said the pupil must have gone out, or followed other children and could not find his way home.
The family is calling on the state Commissioner of Police as well as good Nigerians to assist in finding the missing child.
One of the boy’s uncles described him as very jovial and friendly.