By SaharaReporters, New YorkFour children aged 2, 5, 5 and 7, belonging to a cook who works for the Delta State Commissioner for Environment, Frank Omare, have gone missing following the alleged stealing of N13.8 million from a stash of N60 million Mr. Omare kept in the boot of his car.
Sophia, 7; Kelvin, 5; Dominion, 2; and Nonso, 5, children of Mr. Hyacinth Okwute, disappeared after the Commissioner accused their father of stealing the money.
Our correspondent learnt that the commissioner pounced on nine members of Mr. Okwute’s family, arresting them in his place.
The four children, it was gathered, were last seen after they were arrested and detained, but then subsequently released from ‘A’ Division Police Station in Asaba.
In a petition dated August 14, addressed to the state Commissioner of Police, Ikechukwu Aduba, the family’s solicitor accused Omare of being the architect behind the disappearance of the children as a way of compelling their father, who is at large, to return the stolen money.
Signed by B.C. Ofiaeli and Associates in Asaba yesterday, the petition was copied to the Inspector-General of Police, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and the state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs, Chief Betty Efekoda, demanding the immediate release of the children by Omare.
“Out of the nine (9) persons arrested five of them were detained and later granted bail by the police including the five months pregnant wife of Mr. Hyacinth Okwute but the whereabouts of the four children is unknown,” it said.
The petition noted that while the cook has taken to his heels, his kinsmen were on the neck of the police and the state’s Ministry of Women Affairs and Community Development, where the children were purportedly kept, arguing that they are not abandoned children and should be released unconditionally.
According to Ofiaeli, “It is our brief that those children were not abandoned, neither were they part of the said theft involving Mr. Hyacinth Okwute to warrant their arrest, subsequent and purported transfer to the Ministry of Women Affairs, Social and Community Development.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Charles Muka, said the matter was under investigations. But he denied that the children were in police custody (their last known location). The Ministry of Women Affairs they were purportedly transferred to has also since disassociated itself from their safekeeping.
Efforts to obtain comment from Commissioner Omare were unsuccessful as he failed to answer his mobile phone. When he finally picked up he told our correspondent to send him an SMS as he was in a meeting. At the time of filing this story he had not responded to the message.