The family of Oluwabamise Ayanwola, the 22-year-old female fashion designer whose whereabouts became unknown after she boarded a Lagos State Government owned BRT bus from Chevron Estate in Ajah on her way to Oshodi on February 26, is in deep sorrow over the incident.
In a chat with our correspondent yesterday, Bamise’s sibling, Elizabeth, lamented alleged abduction of her sister by the driver of the bus, identified as Nice Andrew Omininikoron.
Although the operators of the bus said they were awaiting the outcome of police investigation into the matter, the driver, The Nation learnt, was still at large.
Elizabeth told our correspondent yesterday that her missing sister was heading to the brother’s house at Ikotun to stay with the wife who was in ‘labour’.
She reportedly boarded the bus with number 240257 at 7:30pm and became suspicious when the driver told her to sit at one of the back seats.
Bamise’s last movement
Narrating her sister’s last movement, Elizabeth said: “On Saturday evening (February 26), my sister closed at 7 pm. She normally had breaks on Sundays. She works at Ajah as a fashion designer and normally works from Monday to Saturday.
“So when she closed on Saturday (February 26), she wanted to go to my brother’s house because his wife was in labour. My brother stays at Ikotun (a Lagos suburb).
“My missing sister’s house is in Ogun State, Ota precisely. She stays with our aunt who is the first born.
“She called my brother three days before then that she would be coming but she did not know when. On the day she left Ajah, she wanted to surprise my brother by not telling him that she was already on her way.
“She boarded a bus from Chevron Bus Stop. When she entered the BRT bus, it was only her, and there was no light inside the bus.
“She had felt safe inside the BRT bus since it is a popular state bus, but she wondered why it was only her that was in the bus and the driver didn’t pick any other passenger.
“She was even conversing with a colleague of hers because she felt unsafe. She was sending voice notes to her friend. Her friend advised her to drop since the driver didn’t pick up any other passenger.
“Before entering, she informed her friend that the driver was passing some remarks at her but she did n’t answer.
“So later on, the driver later picked up three people on the road: two men and a lady. Then she now felt calm.
“Before the driver picked the three other persons who had disguised as passengers, she made several videos of the bus and the driver and sent it to her friend. The video captured the bus number. It helped us in tracking the bus.
“Her phone was not low. It is a new phone she just bought three weeks ago. Her friend chatted with her several times, but she didn’t reply.
“She tried calling her via normal call a few minutes to 8 pm, but she didn’t pick up.
“Around 7:32 pm, she posted ‘God, it is your protection I need’ on her Whatsapp status.
“I saw the status but I didn’t see it on time because I was not online.
“After repeated calls, her friend said she heard some voices underneath trying to struggle to get the phone from her.”
As would be expected, Bamise’s mother of 10 — five boys and five girls — has been seriously disturbed since her daughter went missing. In one of the viral videos seen by The Nation, the distraught mother was seen wailing in front of a bus numbered 240257, at one of the terminals of LBSL, said to be the bus Bamise had boarded.
“This is the vehicle that Bamise boarded. It has been parked. They say they cannot find the driver. Bamise boarded the vehicle at Ajah and said she was going to Oshodi. “The vehicle got to its destination but the child did not get home. We can’t find her. They must find Bamise for me. I didn’t tell her to go to Lagos to die.”
‘How her friend alerted us about her plight’
Asked how the family learnt about Bamise’s plight, Elizabeth said: “It was her friend who was chatting with her that alerted us.
“She called one of my brothers to ask for her whereabouts, but he said he had not seen her.
“I was even in church when they told me that they could not reach her.
“My sister is someone I can vouch for because she is focused and determined. I’ve been crying because I am devastated.
“Since the day she went missing, we’ve been going around different stations. We tracked the driver and the phone number of my sister.
“When we tracked it independently of the police, we tracked it down to Oshodi terminal station. When we got there, they didn’t answer us properly.
“We were told the driver was supposed to resume by 2 pm, but we didn’t know he was around and we were there till 3/4pm.
“We later learnt the following day that the driver was around but took to his heels when he learnt that there was trouble.
“We went to Maroko and Ajah police stations to lodge complaints and we’ve been shuffling through these stations.
“We had to look for his guarantors. After locating one of his guarantors, we were told by the elder brother of the guarantor that his junior brother was not aware he was being used as a guarantor.
“The other guarantor stays at Ekoro axis, while the other stays at Ikoyi axis. They’ve been arrested.
“We’ve spoken with the Commissioner of Police. He had a phone call meeting with the terminal operators and the family to ask for questions that would aid investigation.
“We’ve sent SOS to the governor for about four days but there is no response. We’ve even gone on social media but the government has not given an audience.
“All I want is for my sister to be found. We were told to write a letter to the terminal but they refused us access.
“The police are not taking this issue for granted; they are putting themselves in our shoes because they are handling the case properly”
Last location tracked
According to Elizabeth, the family made an attempt to track the driver’s location and it showed through his phone that he was two streets away from where her missing sister is.
“The last location of the phone tracked is in Ogun State, but the driver is currently on the run.
“We were told that the bus that is directly involved in this whole issue is still operating. This is insensitive.
“Everyone has been disturbed since Saturday that she went missing. The whole family is devastated. We need God’s intervention. I have been fasting and praying.”
Matter under investigation
When The Nation visited the Oshodi terminal on Saturday, normal operations were ongoing with various buses loading commuters for various destinations.
A staff at the terminal, who did not want to be named, said the Oshodi bus terminal is where BRT buses usually load to various destinations and that the family had been directed to Lagos Bus Services Limited where the case would be handled.
He however noted that the terminal operators had escalated the matter because the issue became a stain on the terminal.
“When the family came, they were angry and wanted to create a scene. I now advised them to go to LBS where the matter would be handled, so they are on it.
“The police are investigating too”.
The Nation learnt that Bamise’s family had held a meeting with the Lagos Bus Service Ltd. (LBSL), operators of BRT, on Wednesday, March 2, and the latter assured that efforts were being made to track down the driver.
Police spokesman in Lagos, Adekunle Ajisebutu, who confirmed the incident, said it was under investigation.
“The Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, has directed that no stone should be left unturned to locate her whereabouts. Search parties have also been organised,” Ajisebutu said.