A 52 year old taxi driver, Monday Etokhena, disappeared into thin air one month after he took a passenger from Lagos to Owerri in Imo State.
The father of three, according to the head of the Etokhena family of Iroakho – Fugar from Etsako Central local government of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Etokhena, had decided to relocate to the village because things were not going on very well with him.
Narrating the genesis of the disappearance which has left the family in a lurch, the 73-year-old family head told Vanguard Metro, VM, that on getting to the village, Monday secured a vehicle, a Toyota Sienna bus with registration number JJJ 958DIC and owned by Moses Alegho, which he used to ply between Lagos and Auchi.
He disclosed that during one of Monday’s trips to Lagos, a passenger chartered the vehicle from Lagos to Owerri on June 30. He was said to have successfully taken the passenger to his Owerri destination. Before departing Owerri, he had called to inform a fellow driver that he had dropped the passenger at about 10:30pm.
He also called the owner of the vehicle that he was on his way to Onitsha where he had hoped to spend the night but was advised by his master to spend the night at Asaba in Delta State instead.
However, three days later, Monday’s wife called to inform Elder Etokhena that she had not heard from her husband since he travelled to Owerri.
“I then called the master and he told me what he had started doing about the situation. As we were contemplating on other theories of what may had happened to him, I told the owner of the vehicle that sometimes the police could make an arrest and keep somebody at the station without people knowing.
I asked him to complain to the police. He went with the traditional ruler of Avianwu Clan, HRH Jackson Etokhena, to meet the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, at Fugar Police Station who promised to give them policemen to accompany them to Anambra State, but needed clearance from the office of the AIG Zone 5.But they could not wait till Monday and had to go on their own,” he said.
The owner of the vehicle, Mr. Alegho, who together with HRH Etokhena was present during VM’s interaction with the family head, informed that the missing driver has been working “for me since February. We don’t have any problem.”
Elder Etokhena took it up from there.
“I called Monday’s phone number and somebody, a male voice, picked it and said good morning Chief. I asked him to give the phone to the owner and he did not say anything. I called again and the number was switched off. My friend called and the same man picked. The strange voice said he was a friend to the owner of the phone. For about three days the phone was off.
“My brother said that he called the number and a lady picked the call. I called and the lady picked and I asked them what they wanted. The owner said I should tell them to take the vehicle and release the driver. I told them and they refused to say anything. On Friday, a man picked and said Your Highness and later kept quiet. I last called on Sallah day.
“We are not sure whether it was kidnapping. If it was kidnapping, they would have asked for ransom. I asked them what they wanted but they switched off the phone. We told the police to track the phone. They said they are working on it. The IPO called me to say that they have gotten the call history of the phone. “We want the world to know what is going on and for them to be careful and to also know about our pains in looking for my brother”.