A 15-year-old girl, Paulina Ojeka, has been declared missing by her guardian, Pastor Biodun Akinlade, who lives on Abioye Street, Ogba, Lagos State.
The teenager reportedly fled home on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, after she came back from her place of work where she was an apprentice to a taior.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the girl’s action might not be unconnected with her desire to see her immediate family in Benue State.
It was gathered that she requested to go home in December to celebrate the Christmas with her family.
Her request was said to have been turned down by Akinlade on the grounds that he was financially down and could not provide her fare.
It was learnt that Akinlade and Paulina’s father, Peter Ojeka, became friends in 2007 when he (Akinlade) went for a Christian programme in Igede, Benue State.
To cement the relationship, the pastor brought her to Lagos State in September 2013.
Our correspondent also gathered that Paulina, who dropped out of school, was living with Akinlade’s mother in the Oke Ira area of the state, but was later moved to the pastor’s house.
Akinlade said, “She was supposed to come for a church service on the fateful day. My wife’s brother, who came to visit us, said he saw her leaving home, but he thought she was going to the church. Some people told me they saw her around the neighbourhood.
“After searching to no avail, I reported at the Pen Cinema Police Station. I also called her father.
“We enrolled her to learn tailoring when she said she could not cope with schooling. She requested to see her father around December. I said I did not have N7,000 for her transport and told her to focus on her vocation till April. I allowed her to speak with her sister on the phone.”
Akinlade explained that he and his wife, Bose, usually talked to her whenever she misbehaved, adding that the latter “spanks her once in a while.”
Bose told PUNCH Metro that she was fair to the girl, adding that she (Paulina) was very obstinate.
She said, “When you ask her not to do something, she will repeat it.
“Once she does not want to do something you tell her to do, she will do it carelessly and without finesse. At times, I beat her for that. She knows I beat my children too. So, I treat her as my child.”
Ojeka, however, said Bose used to call him on the telephone to express her dissatisfaction about the way she was being treated.
He added that the girl also expressed her desire to see members of the family.
“I always told her to be patient and that whatever they are telling her is for her own good,” he said.
The Lagos State Police Spokesperson, DSP Kenneth Nwosu, promised to get back to our correspondent.
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