When 25-year-old Ismail Balogun bade his family farewell in Lagos and set out for Abia State on November 30, 2012, it was expected that he would call his father, Musibau, on arrival at his destination.
Even though the journey was supposed to last just 10 hours, members of his family have not heard from him more than a month after he embarked on the journey.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Ismail, a 300-level student of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture , Umudike, usually travelled by road whenever he was returning to school.
According to Musibau, his son left home around 4:30pm on the fateful day and went to Maza Maza to board a night bus.
Musibau said Ismail usually took the night bus and always called to intimate him of every development as the trip progressed.
He said, “My son left our home at Ikotun and headed for Maza Maza Bus Stop around 4:30pm.
Around 7pm, he called to say that he mistakenly left his laptop and some credentials at home.
I told him that I would the items across to him. Around 9:50pm, I called him and he said the bus was about leaving and I bade him farewell.
“However, around 5am, I called his two phones but both were switched off.
I kept on calling until 10am the following day but the numbers remained switched off.
At this point, I became worried. I later called his colleagues in school but they said they had not heard from him as well.
“Around 4pm, I went to Maza Maza Bus Stop to find out if any bus had had an accident or just to know if anything went wrong.
The bus operators told me that there was no problem with all the buses. I checked all the bus manifests but my son’s name was not written in any of them.”
Musibau said three days later, he went to report the matter at Ejigbo Police Division.
He added that the matter was subsequently transferred to the Area E Command, FESTAC for further investigation.
The investigation however took a sudden twist when it was discovered that Ismail’s facebook account was being updated.
PUNCH Metro observed that Ismail uploaded two photographs on his Facebook page.
The first picture, it was learnt, was taken at the Maza Maza Bus Park on the day the student of Animal Production and Management left Lagos while the second picture was posted a day after he left Lagos.
It was observed that the second picture supposedly posted by the victim was taken along with three other young men in a market place. In the picture, Ismail was seen without a shirt.
Musibau said he had written a petition to the Area E Commander, Mr. Damian Okoro, since December 9, 2012, but no progress had been made.
The father of eight urged the police and members of the public to help locate his son.
He said, “On checking Ismaila’s facebook page, I saw the photograph he took before leaving the park with one Mass Transit Scheme managed by Urban Development Bank of Nigeria Plc and another one with some boys while my son was topless in their midst.
“Ismaila is my fourth child but the first boy. He is a good boy and does not keep bad company.
I appeal to the area commander to use his good offices to rescue my son and bring the culprits to book.”
When contacted, the spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, said she would call back.
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