The whereabouts of a three-year-old boy, Mubarak Ogunlewe, who lives in Papa Alfa, Asese-Ibafo, in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, is still unknown a month after he went missing.
It was learnt that Ogunlewe had been living with his aunt, Alhaja Taibat Bello, since March last year when his parents divorced.
News gathered that the boy had returned home with a friend from an Quranic class in the area. He was said to have decided to stay back and had a bath when the friend called him that he was going back to the class.
It was learnt that the boy, after dressing up around 12pm, told his aunt that he was returning to the school while the woman left for a ceremony in the neighbourhood
Pandemonium, however, started around 3pm when Bello returned from the event and did not meet his nephew at home. She and residents were said to have searched the nook and cranny of the area to no avail.
Bello said they went to the Ibafo Police Station to report the incident on the fateful day, but they were told to come back after 24 hours.
She said, “I am baffled by how he got missing. I just took my bath when he came back from the Quranic class with his friend. After using the toilet, he said he wanted to bath too, which he did. He dressed up hurriedly and told me he was going back to the class and I left for the anniversary of our cooperative society.
“I came back around 3pm but he was not at home. I went to the class only to be told that he had left home with others. When we searched everywhere and did not find him, we went to report at the Ibafo police station, but we were told to come back after 24 hours. We went back on Monday to report.”
A neighbour, who identified herself as Mummy Mosun, said her six-year-old daughter, who she sent to give pepper to a friend in the afternoon of the fateful day, claimed to have seen Ogunlewe, walking alone along the bush path in the area and called him.
“She said he answered when she called him and continued with his journey. When I doubted her account, she took me to the route he passed through,” the woman said.
The head of the Quranic school was said to have gone out when our correspondent visited the facility. One of the teachers, Murtadoh Abdulganiy, said they had released all the children from the class at 2pm.
He added that he did not know Ogunlewe’s whereabouts.
He said, “When we finished observing Zuhr prayer that day, we told them (the pupils) to go home and come back at 4pm for Ramadan lecture. We have ended the lecture when the aunt came to look for Mubarak.
“I was not aware that he went home to ease himself, but the woman confirmed that he saw him before leaving for the ceremony. She said she stylishly left him behind. We have also assisted in looking for him and we are still praying.”
The boy’s mother, Silifat Odutan, who lives in Igbogbo, Ikorodu, said she was informed of the incident two days after.
“He has been living with the aunt since his father and I separated while his elder sister is living with me,” she added.
The Ogun State Police spokesperson, DSP Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the incident.
He said, “The case was reported at the station and we have sent signals to all the formations within the state and the neighbouring states. We are making efforts to ensure that the boy is found,”