A four-year-old girl, Aisha Taiwo reportedly went missing during the during the monthly thanksgiving service of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Ebutte Metta, Lagos.
According to Punch, the 4-yr-old girl and her 9-yr-old brother, Malik accompanied their 60-year-old blind grandma to the church.
The church was said to be having a combined thanksgiving service in the main auditorium and when children were called out for special prayers, Aisha was missing, and efforts to find the four-year-old girls hasn’t yielded any positive result.
Speaking on the disappearance of the girl, Aisha’s uncle, Abdulwasiu Esuola said “Aisha’s mother is my sister and she usually comes with her children to visit their grandma every weekend. Due to grandma’s visual impairment, it is only Aisha’s brother who usually follows her to the church. On Sunday, Aisha decided to follow them to the church because her mother, who worships at a different church, was attending the burial rites of a family member.
“Children usually worship at a different hall, but being a thanksgiving Sunday, the RCCG had a joint service in the main auditorium. When the children were invited to the altar for a special prayer, Aisha and her brother held each others’ hands but they got separated while returning to their seats and when her brother returned to where they were seating and couldn’t find her, he raised the alarm.”
Esuola faulted the church for not having close circuit cameras in the church premises.
He also said that police officers at the Denton Police Station, Ebute Meta, and the Lagos office of the Inspector-General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team have said that investigating the incident would be difficult without CCTV footage.
“I was informed of the incident about 40 minutes after she was declared missing in the church and I immediately went to the church to request the CCTV footage of the premises. To my surprise, I was told that no CCTV camera was installed on the premises. All they had was only their media coverage which showed only the altar; there is nothing exclusive that the church has as a security measure.
He said, “On Monday, I had gone to the police station to lodge a complaint and I went to the Lagos office of IRT and I was able to get a police report. We’ve been doing all we can as a family to find my niece and we expect that the church will also be swift in its response by setting up a committee on this unusual situation.
“I went to the church on Tuesday and a service was going on. I approached one of the pastors and I told him my grievances. While I was making my point, he said he wanted to mount the pulpit and I suggested that I should come back to see him at 2pm.
“Rather than tell me the time that would be convenient for him to see me, he said angrily that how could I just assume that he would be free anytime I chose to see him. The least he could do was to show some level of empathy.”
Describing the missing girl as a quiet girl, Esuola blamed the church saying its complacency in the matter is disheartening.
Reacting to the incident, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, said that efforts were ongoing to find Aisha.
He said, “The girl is actually missing. She went to the church with her grandma and we are still searching for her.”
However, Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi, the Head of Media and Public Relations said the church is making efforts to find the girl.
“The girl and one other young person followed an old woman to the church. The woman is visually impaired and nobody in the church knew that anything had happened until much later in the evening. An alarm was raised immediately and the premises of the church were thoroughly checked.
As part of their efforts to find Aisha, Olaitan said that the church had gone to the police station around to make a complaint, adding that they had made fliers and had also gone to radio stations together with the family of the girl.