Linus Oota, Lafia
One can imagine the shock experienced by some women in Akwanga Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, who arrived early in the morning to fetch drinking water only for them to see the decomposing body of a small boy, who they learnt a few hours’ later, was kidnapped the previous day from Garaku, Kokona Local Government Area of the state.
Evidently, the small boy was gruesomely murdered as his corpse that was brought out of the well had his hands and legs tied with a rope.
This tragic kidnap and murder of a child is a grisly reminder of Nigeria’s unending season of anomie characterized by the most heinous of crimes––kidnaping, bloodbath, banditry and terrorism––and the fact that no life, not even the life of a child, is sacred to the merchants of death that are now on rampage across northern Nigeria.
The victim, a boy named Ritse Micah, was a Nursery Two pupil at ECWA Nursery and Primary School, Garaku and until his death was being raised by his grandfather, Micah Kapechi, a staff of Kokona Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Ritse, son of Kapechi’s first daughter, was born out of wedlock, his mother currently studying in Nasarawa State University Keffi. Kapechi’s other children lived with their mother in Akwanga Local government. The boy, however, was close to his grandfather and had been living with him in Garaku, where he was devoting time and care to his upbringing.
Both Kapechi and his grandson had idyllic life until the night of June 27, when the yet-to-be-unmasked men disrupted their lives.
The visitation by messengers of death
It was a broken hearted Micah Kapechi who narrated the traumatic incident to Saturday Sun.
His story: “On Thursday, June 27, 2019, between 7 pm and 8 pm, the little boy went for prayers at a nearby church and returned home. I was going out to deliver a message and he insisted on going with me. I picked him on a motorcycle, and within a short time, we were able to deliver the message. We returned home around 8:3pm.I took him inside and were about to sleep. We live in a three-bedroom flat, and he had his own room. I took him to his room, laid him on the bed and covered him with a blanket. I returned to the parlour to browse current happenings on my phone. At 10 pm, I plugged my phone and went to sleep in my own room.
“I woke around 12 am and went to his room to wake him up to urinate to avoid wetting his bed. On getting to his room, I did not see him. I checked around the entire rooms to no avail. I checked the door to see if it was open, but it was locked. I went to the kitchen and discovered that the door at the back was open.
The invaders forced their way through the kitchen back door
“That night, I went to one of my pastors who is my neighbour, Pastor Kefas Masara, and told him about the missing boy. We searched round nearby houses till 2 am but could not find him. Then we decided to go to the police station in Garaku to report the matter. The police asked us to come back in the morning to give a statement.
“I returned home and sat outside imagining what could have happened to him. I went inside and made my way to the parlour to unplug my phone because I needed to make calls. It was then I discovered that the abductors had dropped a note on the table close to my phone before taking the boy away.”
The letter was chilling and to the point: “We are your friends––do not bother who we are––we are the one who picked the little boy. Don’t inform the police or anybody. People are suffering, but you have money to send your son to school in China. We want to also enjoy the little from you, the little one you get from government. Don’t involve the police because they are aware of our business. Call us on this phone number (09068929260) and drop N50 million. If you involve the police or anybody, we will kill the boy and come back for you. Bye for now.”
Kapechi reflexively took the letter to the minister of his church, Rev Bitrus Kaya of ECWA Good News Church who directed the church secretary to link him with detectives from the State Criminal Investigation Department in Lafia. The detectives asked him to snapshot the letter and send to them via WhatsApp for investigation.
How he was found
Whatever hope Kapechi was nursing, about recovering his son from his abductors, was snuffed out in the next few hours.
He continues: “When I return from the church, I sat down in my house without a direction or what to do to get the boy. I was still in that state when a friend called me from Garaku town. “There is a picture of a small boy killed in Kokona trending on Facebook,” he said. I asked him to send it to me, but he said it was not on his phone. I tried checking for it on Facebook but could not find it.” A short while later, his elder brother also called from Abuja to tell him that one of his friends from Akwanga posted the picture of a dead boy on Facebook.
“I immediately asked him to download the picture and send it to my WhatsApp and when he did, I discovered to my dismay that it was my boy.” He further learnt that one John Baka, headmaster, College of Education, Demonstration Nursery and Primary School Akwanga, posted the picture on Facebook.
“He got his phone number for me and I called the headmaster and he directed me to meet him in Akwanga.” When they met, Baka gave Micah Kapechi the detail of the discovery: The boy’s body was found inside the well behind the school on Friday, June 28, by women who wanted to fetch water around 6:30 am. The police retrieved the corpse and took it to their station in Akwanga, and subsequently invited the headmaster to come and identify whether or not the body was one of his pupil’s. When he discovered that the corpse was not his student, he decided to snap and post it on Facebook, in the hope that someone might be able to identify him.
A terrible loss
Kapechi was shocked over the premature and brutal death of his grandson. “I’m terribly pained at the tragic death,” he laments.
“My sadness runs very deep. I’m faced with an irreplaceable loss. It is hard for me to realize he is no more,” he wails
The reporter asks for his view about whom he suspect could have an axe to grind with him that could descend so low to get even with him. Kapechi says he is yet to suspect anybody for the crime. In the meantime, detectives are continuing investigation into the matter.