There was anxiety on Sunday at the Surulere Baptist Church, Ojuelegba Road, Lagos State after two unidentified men sneaked into the church premises and abducted a three-year-old girl, Oluwabunmi Ajelero.
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.
It was however, learnt that the girl, was rescued in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday by the police and reunited with her parents.
Reporters learnt that Oluwabunmi’s parents and other members of the church were inside the church immersed in the service when the incident happened.
The service, it was learnt, was grounded when one of the toddler’s playmates alerted the congregation to the incident.
It was further learnt that the captors had pretended as members of the church and established rapport with children in the church.
Newsmen was told that Oluwabunmi’s friend cautioned her not to follow the strangers, who reportedly escaped through Nathan Street.
Speaking with newsmen 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.
Reporters 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.
He said, “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.