Agatha Ngohide Apenanibo, a six-year-old primary one student at RCM Primary School in Tionsha in the Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue state, was reportedly stolen from her school by an unknown woman while playing during the break hour.
Narrating the incidence to newsmen in her office, the headmistress of the school, Mrs Grace Torkuma said, on Thursday, October 26, 2023, Agatha Apenanibo actually came to school and was marked “present” in the class register during the morning roll call.
She stated that the student remained in the class until break, when she and her classmates stepped out for a break and never returned to class.
Mrs Torkuma said nobody noticed her absence because it was normal with the pupils in the school as most of them are instructed by their parents or guardians to return home to assist in domestic works, to sell or hawk their foodstuffs either in the market or within the community, a development which she has been having a running battle with them over.
So because of that, she didn’t take her absence serious until the following day when the matter was brought to her notice by her class teacher when the father reported the incidence to the school.
It was said that, while the pupils were on break, Agatha in company of her classmates who later gave accounts of the incidence, stated that, they were playing by the roadside which is not too far from the Makurdi -Naka road when an unknown woman called her and gave her unspecified amount of money to buy biscuit but also followed her never to return again.
Although the matter has been reported to the “D” Division police station, Mrs Torkuma attributed the incidence to lack of perimeter fence which makes the school so porous, unrestricted and vulnerable to trespass making it very difficult to control or restrict pupils within the school environment.
All efforts to reach the father of the girl failed as he refused to speak but the parish priest of RCM church Tionsha, where Agatha’s parents are parishioners, Rev Fr Osbert Viashima, confirmed the incidence.
Fr Viashima who noted that the parishioners are praying for the safe return of the child, urged anyone with useful information about her whereabout, to contact the following numbers: 08038986079, 07064873176 and 07065629923 or the nearest police formations for necessary action.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Benue state command, SP Catherine Anene confirmed the incidence saying investigation is currently going on to unravel her whereabouts.
Anene appealed to parents, guardians and relevant school authorities to take extra precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their wards, students and pupils especially now that the “Ember months” are approaching.