A fruit seller, identified simply as Umar, has been caught with a sack containing a one-year-old child he allegedly abducted on Ayodele Awodeyi Street, Mile 12, Lagos State.
It was learnt that the boy, Isiaq Ismail, was playing with his peers in front of his parents’ residence when Umar, who sold cucumbers, held him by the hand under the pretext of playing with him.
It was reported that other children ran inside the house and informed Isiaq’s parents that he was with a man outside.
PUNCH gathered that the mother rushed out only to see Umar fleeing with something in the sack he was carrying. There was no sign of Isiaq.
The mother was said to have raised the alarm and the suspect was rounded up by her neighbours.
Isiaq’s father, Abdulrahman Ismail, said he was sleeping around 3pm on Monday when noises from outside woke him up.
“On getting outside, I saw my wife in a crowd with a man (Umar) who was being beaten. She told me the man was taking away Isiaq in a sack and she called for help. The man didn’t tell us why he abducted my son. We invited the Mile 12 Market security men to rescue him from the mob,” He added.
The Chief Security Officer of the market, Imrana Ibrahim, said it took combined efforts of his men and some soldiers to rescue Umar from the mob, adding that he had been handed over to the police.
He said, “According to the information I gathered, the boy was playing outside with other children. The suspect approached them and held the boy in the hand. As other children ran inside, the mother of the boy came out to look for her son.
“She found the child in the sack carried by the suspect. Security men rushed to the scene upon a distress call and met a mob about to lynch the man. They intervened to rescue him, but the mob resisted. I had to seek the assistance of soldiers to rescue him.
“We took him to a police post around us and he was later transferred to the Ketu Police Station. Some people said he sold cucumbers.”
Another security man, Sami Iliya, said Umar had earlier been caught stealing goods from trucks parked inside the market.
A resident, Abdullahi Kwakwa, said there had been incidences of child abduction in the neighbourhood, adding that a child, who was abducted last year, had yet to be found.
He said, “Hardly a month goes by when a case of missing child will not be recorded around here. As I speak, we have been looking for a child since last year. That was why people were angry when they caught the man.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, who confirmed the incident, said the suspect would be transferred to the Anti-Kidnapping Unit at the command’s headquarters in Ikeja.
He said, “The matter is still under investigation and the suspect will be transferred to the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the command for a comprehensive investigation.”