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[EDITORIAL] They lie against me because I'm poor-Woman blames her Indian boss/Landlord for the disappearance of her wards

christian nwodo - Saturday, March 14, 2015


Abuchi, boy, and Chinanu, girl, said to be 11 and 10 years respectively, were living with their auntie, Gift Amos, 38, at a Boy’s Quarters on 1, Macarty Street, Ilupeju, Lagos until their alleged disappearance on March 10, 2014 from the house.

Blaming her former boss, an Indian man identified as Dinesh and his landlord, Mr. Tunde Ajala, for the disappearance of Abuchi and Chinanu, Amos, who was teary-eyed, told our correspondent she had exhausted all avenues she knew to get justice.

For losing the children who were put in her care following the demise of their parents, Amos said she has been banished from setting foot on her village, Akpaaosopwa in Osisioma Local Government Area of Abia State in South-Eastern Nigeria.

She alleged that Abuchi and Chinanu were driven away by Ajala and Dinesh when she was ill and was being treated at a private hospital, even though, they had promised to take care of them in her absence.
Speaking to Punch,she said


“Dinesh and the landlord should tell me where the children are. They have bribed the police and lied against me because I’m poor. So nobody is talking about the missing children after almost a year. I’m tired of this world,” she said.
Amos’ story about the alleged missing children started on March 1, 2014 when she fell ill while on duty. At the time, she was working as a cook for two Indians, Ditta and Dinesh and was staying at the Boys Quarters attached to the main building at the Ilupeju residence.

The owner of the building, Ajala, who is also involved in the case, lives in the adjoining building, 3 Macarty Street, Ilupeju, a prototype of the other property.

Amos, who is unmarried, had taken up the responsibility of looking after Abuchi and Chinanu about five months earlier following the death of their parents, who died from HIV/AIDS.

She said,


“I was working for Mr. Ditta and Mr. Dinesh as a cook and had taken permission from them in August 2013 to allow my brother’s children stay with me at the Boys Quarters. They agreed. But on March 1, 2014, I fell ill and slumped in the kitchen while working in the house and I was rushed to a nearby private hospital and was admitted there.
“No payment was made by my bosses and so the doctor sent me back home. The security guard atthe house, Iriso, assisted me. Later, after much haggling, they asked my brother, Ugochukwu, to take me to another hospital and promised to foot the bill. So, I was taken to another hospital at Sango, Ogun State, two days later.
“But as we were about to leave, my brother asked them about Abuchi and Chinanu and they also promised to take care of them while I was away. They urged me to go on and get myself treated first. The landlord said he also had children and would be willing to be of help. So we left.”
However, Amos said she received a call from Iriso on March 10, while still on admission at the hospital, that her employers and Ajala had driven Abuchi and Chinanu away from the house. She said Iriso told her that he was also instructed not to allow anyone enter the house without their permission.Amos said Abuchi and Chinanu have been missing since then.

“Immediately, I got in touch with my brother and we left for the house but the gate was locked. We went to Ilupeju Police Station in spite of my illness but the police didn’t attend to us on that day. They said I looked very ill and asked me to come back when I felt better,” she said.
“No statement was taken from me or my brother. We went back a week later and one James Mora was assigned to the case as the Investigating Police Officer. He followed us to the house but only Iriso was arrested on that day because we didn’t see the Indians and the landlord.”

According to Amos, Ajala and Dinesh later appeared at the police station but Ditta never did. She said the police later released the suspects on bail, alleging that the agency stopped investigating the case because she couldn’t produce recent photographs of the missing children.

Her story is that her tradition demanded that the property of her deceased brother, Uzoma, and wife had to be burnt due to the nature of their deaths. She said their children’s recent photographs were also lost in the process.

She said,  “I told the police I only had photographs of when the children were about four years old and they didn’t ask for them. Later, I was accused of not cooperating with them by refusing to bring the photographs of the missing children. The police have been bribed by the foreigner and the landlord and the suspects know they can get away with it because we’re poor.
“Dinesh and the landlord were asked why they sent the children away but they started lying against me. They said they didn’t know about the children’s disappearance and that I was only angry because I had requested to be paid off in lieu of six months because I was not well.
“But they were the ones who wanted to sack me. They called my brother and asked him to sign on my behalf that he had collected my February salary but he asked them to wait till I returned.”
Ugochukwu, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, confirmed Amos’ account.

He said he and Amos were told they could leave the children behind while leaving for the hospital.

“When we heard that the children were missing and I got to the house, the security asked me to ask the landlord about them. His gate was locked and when I knocked, he threatened to get people to beat me up if I didn’t leave his house,” he said.
Ugochukwu also confirmed that he was offered N20,000 by Dinesh as her sister’s pay off from work following her illness, which he connected to low blood pressure.

He alleged that he overheard Dinesh saying he had paid a sum of N2.5m to the police as bribe in a conversation with Ajala.

But all the allegations were denied by Ajala and Dinesh, when they spoke with our correspondent.

They said that the case of the alleged missing children was a scam by Amos and Ugochukwu to get money from Dinesh, knowing he is a foreigner. Ajala denied ever volunteering to take care of the children while Amos was away, insisting she knew the whereabouts of the children.

Ajala told our correspondent he asked Ugochukwu as he was about to leave for the hospital with his sister about their plan for the children and that he said he would return for them.

He said,

“As they were going, I said ‘what of the children’ and he (Ugochukwu) said he would come back for them. What relationship will be between the landlord and the maid that will make me suggest I would take care of her wards?”
In Ajala’s account, Abuchi and Chinasa were older than Amos had portrayed them to be. He said the children were about 14 and 15 years of age and therefore painted a picture of children craftier than what Amos’ story suggested.

Ajala said he intervened in the matter when Dinesh raised concerns over the children’s truancy and repeated absence from home.

He said,

 “One Monday, as they were returning home in the morning, I asked where they were coming from. They said they had slept over in their auntie’s place (not Amos) at Palm Groove area of Lagos. Then I asked them to go back and tell their auntie to see me because they were like a flock without a shepherd.
“Then they borrowed the mobile telephone of the security man to make a call which I know was to their uncle (Ugochukwu). I didn’t know what was said because they spoke in Igbo. The next I knew, the police were here accusing me of kidnapping, abduction and stealing.”

Ajala also alleged that some family members of the children had demanded for N100m in one of the meetings held with them, allegations which Amos and Ugochukwu bluntly denied when asked by our correspondent.

“They said I wanted to sell the children of my brother? Me? Why would I do that? I can never do that. They should talk about where they have kept the missing children,” she told our correspondent.
“I cannot go to my village now until I get the children. My kinsmen have told me to bring back the children that were put in my care before I could return there. I’m not concerned about money, what I want is that the children be returned to me.”
Dinesh was not at the meeting where Amos’ family members allegedly requested for the N100m pay off but his colleague and representative from his company, Karamu Plastics Industries Company, Mr. Samuel Osakwe, claimed he had audio recording of the conversation.

He and Ajala, however, declined to let our correspondent have a copy of the file or listen to it.
Osakwe said he became involved in the issue to protect his colleague, Dinesh, who was allegedly a target of scam and exploitation.


“I feel I should see what I can do to help. That was why the meeting was set up. So I recorded the conversation. My intention was actually to play it for Dinesh later since he wasn’t there so he would know what transpired at the meeting.
“They demanded for N100m. But the police asked me to see what I can do to make the audio better but I want to leave it as it is so it will be original.”
Amos’ lawyer, Dozie Uwasomba of Baron and Associates, had earlier told our correspondent that Osakwe had presented an inaudible audio file at the police station, claiming that his client had demanded for money to stop pushing for the return of the children.


“But nobody could hear a single thing from the so-called recording. It’s all a lie to build allegations against us,” he said.
On the other hand, Dinesh described himself as the target of malicious lies and allegations by Amos and Ugochukwu.

He told our correspondent that he wasn’t owing Amos, saying he was gracious enough to have paid her N36,000 in lieu of one and a half months in addition to the N16,000 he purportedly paid for her medical treatment.


“Ajala asked about the children and her brother (Ugochukwu) said he would come back to take care of them. Later, the children would go missing and Ajala challenged them to go and get the auntie. Then they came and accused us of all sorts of things,” he said.
Dinesh said he always made himself available each time he was summoned by the police and also denied bribing them.