Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Worker with Arik Air, Grace Utum, has gone
missing after a visit to her lover, Ihuoma Amelogu,
who lives in the Ojodu Berger area of Lagos State. It was learnt that the 29-year-old Cross
River State indigene had left her Ikeja office for her
lover’s house on January 1, 2016.
However, her whereabouts had since been
shrouded in mystery.
Grace, a graduate of Accounting, University of
Calabar, was said to be working in the hospitality
department of Arik.
The case was reported at the Ojodu Police Division
and Amelogu was reportedly arrested.
It was learnt that a mobile phone and a handbag
belonging to the victim were found in his apartment
on the day Grace went missing.
He was, however, released after police said there
was nothing to connect him with the
disappearance.
An uncle of the victim, Felix Omini, explained that
the family became worried after her mother called
one of her telephone lines and a stranger picked
the call.
He said, “Her mother called her that night and
discovered that it was a stranger that picked the
call. The stranger said the phone was missing and
its owner had called him and said she was coming
for it in company with a man.
“Grace’s mother called her boyfriend, Amelogu,
thinking he was the man the stranger was referring
to. But he said he had also been trying to reach her
without success.”
Omini said he called 32-year-old Amelogu and
together they went to report the matter at the
police station.
The victim’s father, Obongha Utum, said Grace and
Amelogu had been dating for three years and
would have been married, but for a problem with
their blood compatibility.
He said, “The police said we should talk to the
boyfriend because that was where she said she
was going, but I don’t know what to think. They are
church members and were supposed to have been
married; but that became impossible after they
discovered their genotypes were not compatible.
“We have also gone to Agbado Crossing in Ogun
State, where she lived with a friend. We didn’t meet
anybody in the house; everywhere was deserted.”
When contacted, Amelogu said he last
communicated with Grace around 3pm on January
1.
He explained that efforts to get across to her
through her friends had been abortive.
He said, “We were together on December 31, 2015;
she slept at my place. She sometimes stayed at
my place because her office in Ikeja is closer to
my house in Ojodu Berger. She rented an
apartment in Agbado Crossing, Ogun State.
“Around 6am on January 1, she said she was
going to the office. We always had a family reunion
every New Year at my uncle’s place in Ajah, so we
planned to meet there.
“I spoke with her around 12 noon. Then around
3pm, when I was at my uncle’s place, we
communicated again and I asked if she was still
coming. She said she was rounding off at the office
and would soon join me.”
The civil engineer said his girlfriend’s line,
however, became unreachable around 5pm and
despite calling till 7pm, he didn’t get through.
He said her mother called him from Port Harcourt
around 10pm to ask if he had seen her daughter.
“Her mother said she called her and a stranger
picked it and said the phone was missing. I was
surprised because she (Grace) didn’t call me that
she had misplaced her phone.
“I decided to call the number myself, but it was
unreachable. I kept calling till 2am, when it was
switched off,” he added.
It was gathered that Grace’s family contacted a
telecommunication company to track her calls, but
they were asked to get a court order.
Access to her bank accounts were also said to
have been blocked.
The Arik Air spokesperson, Adebanji Ola, confirmed
the incident, adding that the company was working
with the family and the police to get to the roots of
the case.
He said, “Yes, she works with us. She has not
reported for duty for some time now and we were
told she was missing. The family and the police
have been here and we are doing everything
possible to support investigations.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo
Badmos, also confirmed the incident, adding that
the police arrested Amelogu and later released
him.
She said, “Necessary police procedure to be done
in the case of the missing person has been done.
The boyfriend, who was actually the complainant,
was arrested and investigated, but there was
nothing to link him with Grace’s disappearance,
hence his release. But investigation is ongoing.”

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