Cover Stories, Interviews

The Orekoyas open up on their children’s kidnap ordeal -‘The kidnappers tricked us many times – we were in Ijebu Ode, Sagamu and back to Egbeda’

-‘The insults on social media was demoralizing’

-‘How we nabbed the suspects’ –Police

-Suspect confirms ransom was paid, faces 21 years imprisonment

Plus, much more on the kidnap tale that rocked Nigeria

Despite the joy that followed the reunion of the kidnapped Orekoya children –  – with the rest of the family, the concerned parents are still scared stiff about the traumatic effect of the incident on their growing infants and toddlers.

‎The Orekoyas hired a maid through an online service portal, OLX and within a day of working in the household, the maid, disappeared with three children of her empoyers. The maid who gave her name as Mary Akinloye resumed on Tuesday and took away three out of the four children entrusted in her care the same day. ‎

‎The abduction of the kids, Aderomola, Adedamola and Demola, on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, drew a lot of public outcry and became viral on social media, especially after their mother made a passionate appeal for the abductors to release her kids.‎

‎The nanny who abducted the children ‎from their Lawanson, Surulere, Lagos, home of her employers barely two days after resuming work, Mary Akinloye, was arrested a day after the children were found.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, stated that the police, through its superior intelligence gathering methods, tracked down the suspect and arrested her alongside her accomplices.

‘My primary purpose right now is to make sure my children are fine’ -Adeleke Orekoya (Father)

DSC_0287How do you feel being re-united with your kids?

I feel great, although it is still a learning process because we learn new things daily. It has been an eye opener for us by making us understand things we did not know. Above all, I thank God because we came out victorious.

Can you tell us how you came about the nanny?

We placed an advert on OLX that we were in search of a maid. This lady saw the advert and contacted us. We got her interviewed and she was recruited for the job.

Can you share with us how the children were found?

Series of steps were taken involving security agencies, and ourselves. I would not be able to go into details due to the ongoing investigations.

At what point of the day did you discover she had absconded with the children?

We got to know at about 1pm on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, when my eldest son, Michael Orekoya, 11, called and said, “The nanny took Demola, Damola and Romola out in the morning (8am) with the excuse of going to buy something and she was not yet back”. So I told him to call the mother who tried to call the nanny but all proved abortive. At that point, she called me and I asked her if she had tried to reach the nanny, her aunt who acted as the agent and also the brother of the nanny. She said, all the phone numbers were switched off. On hearing that, I immediately headed to the address given to us by the agent. We could not locate them there which was what led us to reporting the case to the police. In fact there was information that they never lived at the given address.

With this experience, would you still employ another nanny?

I am not even thinking about any nanny related issues right now, I need time to bond with my children so they can get back to their normal selves. My primary purpose right now is to make sure my children are fine because, the medical reports showed there are traces of malaria parasites in them and they have been given medications for.

How and where exactly were the children found?

There were so many negotiations. The investigation will give us a lead about whatever transpired when it is over. But for now, I can’t give detailed information due to security reasons. We cannot discuss if a ransom was paid or not.

However, the children were picked up at Egbeda which was after a thorough search by virtue of information from the kidnappers. They gave us the information to move from Shagamu Express Road, Ijebu Ode after which we decided to head back to Lagos where they asked us to go to Egbeda where they were found.

Do you think making use of the Internet for transactions like this is appropriate?

There is nothing wrong with the internet because it is a platform for getting so many things. That there are mishaps along the way does not invalidate the platform. Besides, this is not our first time of recruiting a nanny via OLX. For four years, we have been recruiting nannys on OLX. One of them spent two years with us and when it was time for her to go, she gave us one month notice. After her, we got another nanny through the same platform who was still working until we gave her Easter break and paid her advance salary. She was to come back on Sunday night, April 5, 2015 but she did not. So, we were under pressure of recruiting another nanny before the Tuesday when my wife would resume work. So, we immediately put up an advert on OLX and Funmi’s agent contacted us.

With this experience would you make your spouse a full time house-wife?

We have had discussions about that and as a family, decisions on the best way to go cannot be taken in a jiffy when you’re going through a problem. Now that the problem has been resolved, we need time as a family to bond, it is in the process we can discuss how to move forward as a family. However, the decision has not been taken.

What do you think will be the solution?

One thing I have learnt about life is, when you take a rational decision, it will only take a while to realize you are just deceiving yourself. But decisions that are taken with proper and diligent analysis always bring out the results you desire. You cannot say because you experience one fault out of four you will invalidate the other three, things do not work like that. That is why I keep saying, prayer is the only thing that can guide you to the right decision not by human knowledge or calculation.

What has been the advice from both families?

They have been together with us and praying for us as well. In fact our home became a prayer apartment until Sunday, April 12, 2015, when I told everyone to stop and make it a thanksgiving. That afternoon, I told everyone to stop asking for the release of the children and start thanking God for the release of the children and in less than three days, we had good results. As at that Sunday, we did not know the way forward.

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