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Mystery over disappearance of 21-year-old UNILAG undergraduate in Lagos

A 300 level student of University Of Lagos, identified as Obafunto Obafunto Babalola, studying Architecture was last seen a few blocks from where he lived in a hostel outside the campus at 51b Johnson Street, Onike Road in Yaba, area of Lagos.

Operatives of the Lagos State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba are investigating the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of a 21-year-old undergraduate of the University of Lagos, Obafunto Babalola, who went missing on April 7th 2022.

Crime Guard learned that he got missing at about 8 am on his way back from his friend’s lodge where he spent the night. Ironically, his phone was recovered from a dry cleaner in the neighbourhood who claimed he found it on a parked vehicle opposite his house, the same day he went missing.

Father of the missing student, Collins Babalola told Crime Guard that his son disappeared on Friday, April 7th around 8 am. According to him, “we received the news that same Friday from his friends who lived in the same vicinity with him and they saw each other regularly.

If they didn’t see each other in a span of two hours, they would call. They were always together. So they checked on each other every two or three hours. They said they saw him around 6 am, because on this particular day he slept in his friend’s hostel.

“His friends that saw him last said they saw him around 6 am and he was meant to be going back to his hostel.”

Explaining further, Babalola said: “When we received the news that he had gone missing, we reported the case at Adekunle Police station, Yaba. The police said they would go to Ikeja where their radio control was to reach out to all the stations, area commands and police posts. We were told that they radioed on Sunday and that he was not in any police custody.

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How his iPhone was discover-ed on a parked vehicle

“At about 6 am, the dry cleaner saw my son’s phone six blocks away from Johnson Street where he lived. According to him, he was going to work when he found the phone on the booth of a vehicle parked almost directly opposite his house on the street, there was no way he would open his gate and not see across.

So, he picked it and told another person on his street that he found a phone and if anyone came back looking for his phone, they should let him know that the phone was with him. He said he told three people on his street as well as other tenants in his compound.

The phone is with us now, we went to recover it. The vehicle where the phone was found wasn’t an abandoned vehicle in that area, because it is heavily populated and people pack on the road. It was one of those vehicles that were parked on the road.

“The circumstances that led to the abandonment of the phone on the vehicle is what we do not understand. That is what George testified because police picked him up and investigated him.

“We went through his phone, his call logs, messages, and chats; there was none that could give a lead to his whereabouts because his elder brother knows the password to his phone.

“There was nothing to show that he was invited somewhere. Or maybe somebody called him. His call log showed that it was his friends that he spoke to.

“Another person that saw him at about 8am walking along like road said they exchanged pleasantries. After we reported and we did posters that went viral on Saturday night, someone called that he saw him at one Akran road walking at about 2 pm.

“We drove around Oba Akran for three days; we were going around Oba Akran talking to people under the bridge. I didn’t even know that people sleep under the bridge. When you get there at night, it is like a bedroom, each person has his own space. We stayed there till midnight maybe he would come and sleep or something.

“We printed several posters which we distributed. On Saturday, some people said we should go to Fela’s shrine. We went there on Sunday and spoke with people on the streets, and we shared posters. The manager of the place said he wasn’t sure he came here.

“They said, however, that if he came yesterday, there was a chance that he would come today. They said people would start coming from 7 pm. We stayed till midnight. One of the boys looked at the poster and simply intoned in Pidgin English, ‘this one no be one of us, see his skin’.

“On Wednesday, the management of the shrine said we should come and look at the footage of the CCTV to be sure if he came there or not. They were kind, all day, watching different cameras. There is one entrance and there is a camera stationed there picking everybody’s face. After going through the CCTV, we concluded that he did not visit there. We received so much information, which we had to check out.

“All the efforts, in terms of people, saying they saw him in this direction, they saw him in that direction, were explored. The police at Panti have taken over the investigation of the case. They believe his friends who saw him last have more information than they are revealing, the police are on it.”

“No ransom has been demanded at the moment. We tried to find out if he had a quarrel with somebody or if he had some issues. We do not know. It is police investigation that will unravel the issue.

“They have picked up the young man who picked up his phone for more questioning. If the guy who saw the phone was a bad person he could have removed the sim card after picking it up. He would have sold it to someone who would not be able to identify him.

“He confirmed that area boys wanted to buy the phone after he told them that he picked it up by the roadside. We checked the phone, he didn’t do any transactions, and he doesn’t have the password.

“The only mistake he did was that he didn’t report to the police.

“We are the ones that instructed his friends to go and pick up his phone. We live in Ibadan, by the time we were called on Friday; it was traffic hour getting into Lagos.

“We asked them to go and get his phone before the person would change his mind and switch it off and we would begin to look for it again. When they called him, he gave them the address of his dry cleaning office and they went to collect it. We came on Saturday morning to begin the search and we have been on this for a week now. We believe God will bring our son back home safely”, he stated

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