When Mr. Musa Sunday, an Inspector with the Nigeria Police Force, left his house for the office on Friday, November 25, 2016, he promised his wife and children he would be back three days after. But unknown to all of them, that could be the last time they would see one another.
As it later turned out, since that day, 45-year-old Sunday, who is a father of four (aged 4, 6, 8 and 12), had been nowhere to be found. His Force Number was given as 209715.
During an interaction with Punch during the week, the family members, including the wife, his children, brother and cousin, all of whom had become restless over the issue, called on the police authorities to produce him in one piece and if he had been killed, they want to see his corpse.
One after the other, they gave the details of what led to his disappearance.
His wife, 27-year-old Halimat, who struggled to suppress tears from rolling down her cheeks as she spoke to our correspondent, said they had reliable information that Sunday was detailed from the office to lead two other policemen to Akodo in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos to resolve a land dispute between two communities in the area.
She continued, “They were deployed there to maintain peace in that area. We learnt that when they got there, the hoodlums were attacking a man, so they moved closer and rescued the man. He then told the other two policemen to go and put the man in the car so he could be safe.
“Before they came back to where my husband was, the hoodlums had pounced on him and took him away and he was nowhere to be found.
“It was as if he was overpowered. Sensing danger as they kept increasing in number, the other two had to run away. Perhaps the deployment was not adequate. Since then, we have not heard from him.”
Halimat recalled that on November 29, the day they went for the operation, at about 4pm, she spoke with him and he promised to be back the following day.
But in the evening when his children demanded to speak with him, she said she kept trying his number until around 12am but it was not reachable.
However, she said fears began to set in when the wife of her husband’s elder brother suddenly called her around 12am to tell her all would be fine and that nothing would happen to him.
She added, “I thought I couldn’t reach him because of network problem. After that woman’s call, I tried him again but the number wasn’t available. In the morning, some of his colleagues started calling me to tell me what happened. That was when I was convinced there was a problem.”
She said the husband’s brother, Dr. Amanabo Musa, his cousin, Mr. Jonathan Arome and herself had since then been visiting the police headquarters in Lagos but nothing was happening.
She added, “Three months after, they keep telling us they are on it. We learnt they have arrested the prince that hired the hoodlums but nothing has happened since then. We (including my children) have tried several times to meet with the police commissioner (Fatai Owoseni), because we are suffering, but he refused to see us. It was when I became insistent that they allowed us to see the deputy commissioner, who said they were looking into the case.
“His children keep asking after him. His aged mother, who has high blood pressure, has not stopped asking for his whereabouts and we don’t even know what else to tell her. I’m worried.”
Recalling his last moment with the family, she said when he was leaving for work that morning, she had told him they didn’t have money again, but he promised to give them more when he came back. They never knew that he might never come back.
At the moment, she said since the disappearance of their breadwinner, they had been struggling to survive, while their children had been having hard times in their schools because of her inability to pay their fees.
Halimat, who does not have a job, added, “The children are all in school but the schools have started harassing them. For one in boarding school, we were made to sign an undertaking that we would pay.
“Nobody from the police cared to check on us, and now we don’t have money because we don’t have access to his ATM pin.
“I want my husband to come back. The children are suffering, and I can’t carry the load alone.”
While commending the efforts of the Officer-in-Charge of SARS in Lagos State, under whom Sunday worked before he went missing, Amanabo, who is a brother to Inspector Sunday, said since some arrests had been made, the police should have made progress in unravelling the mystery behind his brother’s disappearance.
He said, “We call on the Inspector General of Police (Ibrahim Idris) to urgently compel the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State to produce my brother. They said they had made some arrests, what have they found out? We want to know if he’s dead or alive. If he is no more, where are his remains?
“The disposition of the police authorities in the state could tempt one to presume complicity, because we heard they have made some arrests, yet nothing has been done. Or is there anything they are not telling us?”
Also, his cousin, Jonathan, said the police should have mobilised his colleagues to go back to that place to look for him immediately the incident happened but that they heard the CP stopped them from doing that. He said since the police were able to recover his mobile phone, they should have been able to trace him.
He added, “We learnt there is a man that is privy to all that happened, but he is walking freely. They have identified him. Why has he not been arrested? We also heard they had arrested two people that were using his phone. The family is aggrieved and in pain.”
The police Inspector, who would have marked his 45th birthday last December as he did every year, was nowhere to be found, while his children waited endlessly for his return. In fact, the last Christmas and New Year celebrations were understandably gloomy for them all.
The evidently distressed wife said, “During Christmas, he had promised to take the children home to see their grandmother, and he does that every year, but that didn’t happen last year because of his absence.
“We need him back. The last time I told my pastor about it, he said we should be praying. The children miss their father. They keep asking me when their dad is coming back and sometimes, they are recluse.
“The police authorities should produce him alive, and if he is dead, they should show me his corpse.
Speaking on the command’s efforts to rescue the missing policeman, the Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos State, Olarinde Famous-Cole, said he could not comment on the issue as he was yet to be briefed since he resumed.
He therefore directed our correspondent to the state commissioner of police, Mr. Owoseni, who did not pick his calls nor reply the text message sent to his line as of the time of filing this report.