A commercial motorcyclist caused panic on Alubarika Street, in the Bariga area of Lagos State after he fled with three-year-old twin brothers, Joseph and Joel Osinaike.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the kids’ mother, who lives in the area, had brought them to a bus stop beside a
First Bank branch in the community to get a motorcycle that would take them to school. After a few minutes wait at the bus stop, the okada (motorcycle) rider, who was identified as Awaliu Yunusa, stopped to pick the school kids and their mother.
Our correspondent learnt that Yunusa carried one of the twins and put him on the tank of the motorcycle, while their mother seated the other boy at the back.
She was about to climb the motorcycle when Yunusa reportedly zoomed off with the pupils.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Olansile Damola, told PUNCH Metro that the incident happened on Tuesday at about 7.30am.
Damola, a shop owner around the bus stop, said about 15 motorcycles went after the suspect after the mother raised the alarm.
He said, “Normally, I open shop around 9am, but that day, I came to pick something I forgot in the shop the previous day.
“After I had picked the item, I saw a woman (the twins’ mother) crying and running after a speeding motorcycle, which carried two kids in uniform.
“I sensed that the kids must have been abducted. I quickly shut my shop and begged some okada riders to help to chase him.
“When he observed that they had almost caught up with him, he left the road and headed towards Alubarika Street. The riders continued chasing him until he was caught.”
A trader, Mrs. Olabisi Adedayo, said a mob descended on Yunusa and beat him to a pulp before policemen from the Bariga division arrived at the scene.
“They beat him to the point that blood was coming out of his ear. He would have been killed if the policemen had not arrived at the scene. While he was fleeing with the kids, he rode the motorcycle with his right hand and used his left to hold the twin brother at the back.
“I was surprised at how he got the confidence to perpetrate such a crime at that time of the day. I think he got what he deserved,” Adedayo added.
The suspect was said to have been taken to the Gbagada General Hospital for treatment.
A rights group in the community, Child Protection Network, which is following up the case, urged the police to ensure diligent prosecution of the matter to serve as a deterrent to others.
The CPN Coordinator in Shomolu, Toyin Oklagogo, said the group had organised a house-to-house sensitisation programme to enlighten parents on the safety of their children.
He said, “When the incident came to the notice of the group, I went to the Bariga Police Station and a police officer I met assured me that the case would be properly handled. He said the police command headquarters had already been informed. The suspect should be prosecuted.
“On our part, we usually go to community development associations to sensitise parents to the need to be vigilant. Parents should be conscious of their environment and avoid putting the care of toddlers in the hands of older children. Some people are looking for money by all means.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the incident via a text message.
“Yes, I confirm the case. It is under investigation,” the message read.