A fashion designer from Kogi state, Aliu Abdulrazak has narrated how her five year-old daughter, Ruwaydah Abdulrazak went missing and later found dead in a well, aborting her dream of becoming a medical doctor.
Mr. Abdulrazak who works and reside in the Shasha area of Akure, Ondo state narrated his family’s travail started November 11th, 2023 when Ruwaydah did not return from Madrasah (Arabic school).
“Normally, their closing time is 3.30pm and when they closed, the other children said they couldn’t find Ruwaydah since 12.30pm when she excused herself to urinate and they thought she came home.
“I told them that we didn’t see her at home and we started searching for her. I left the house immediately to go and speak with the teacher, who confirmed that she asked for permission to go and urinate around 12.30 pm. When he said this, we started looking for Ruwaydah and we couldn’t find her throughout Saturday (November 11, 2023).
He said they went to the police station and was told to return after 24 hours to file a missing person complaint.
“The next day, we searched but all to no avail. We couldn’t find her despite all our efforts. We went back to the police station to file an official complaint and we distributed her pictures to people who were also helping us in the search.
“At midnight, her corpse was found in a well,” he said, ruling out possibilities of accident
He vouched his daughter “was not a child who did risky things; she was a gentle girl. The police, who investigated the case, noted that no child could go to the place where she was found. I’m very certain that my daughter was killed by someone or people who dumped her body inside the well after they were done with their evil act.
“When she left the house, she was fully dressed in her clothes and hijab, but when she was found inside the well, her hijab was gone and her shoes were not in the well also. If Ruwaydah walked and fell into the well, her hijab and the pair of shoes she was wearing should have been found inside the well, but they were nowhere to be found.
According to the bereaved father, the police had arrested the Arabic school teacher, who named one of the neighbors as a prime suspect.
“When the Arabic school teacher was arrested, the police asked the teacher who could be the suspect and the teacher mentioned a woman who happened to be our neighbour. The teacher said it was when the woman came to the school to drop food for her son and was leaving that my daughter also took permission to go and urinate and that they (the suspect and my daughter) went outside at the same time. The woman was also said to have come to the Arabic school twice on the same day.
He said he also suspected the woman because of previous altercation with his wife.
“After she was arrested and interrogated, she protested her innocence and said she wasn’t the one who killed my daughter. Since we do not have evidence and she could not be tortured to speak up, her statement was taken by the police and she was released.
“She has been sent out of the community by residents of the community because she’s the prime suspect in the death of my daughter. There was a time she had a fight with another woman in the community and at that time, she met the daughter of the woman she was fighting in a market, took the girl home, and beat the girl up till she almost died before she released her to go home. So, the community could not stand her presence and her husband was told to take her out of the community to avoid being lynched by angry residents. It was because she was not caught in the act that the police released her.”
For Abdulrazak, his daughter was an outstanding and brilliant girl whose absence has left a vacuum.
“Ruwaydah was a very brilliant, bright, and sharp young girl. Both in Western education and religious education, she was very sharp. Almost in everything she did, she was completely outstanding. Her death has left a vacuum in the house; we know that someone is gone. The house is now dull, but this wasn’t the case when she was alive. Her mother and I were sometimes surprised at how sharp she was. It (her death) is very painful.
“Ruwayadah always wanted to become a doctor. It was only one time when she said she wanted to become a pilot, it was always to become a doctor and I was hoping that she was going to achieve that because she was a very smart kid. Her killer has killed that dream.
Since the incident happened, I have been feeling like a man who is about to lose his mind because she was a daughter that I knew had a very bright future. See, she was my third child but out of all the children that God gave me, the love I had for Ruwaydah stood out. I always tell her mother. Of all my children, she was the only one that had the same resemblance with me; when you see me and see her, you’ll know instantly that I’m her father.
“Till this moment that I’m talking to you, I feel like I am about to lose my mind. Just before we started talking, I was still thinking about her because the reality was now dawning on me that Ruwaydah was dead, that she was no longer alive. How will I get a daughter like her again? What about all the things that Allah destined that she was going to achieve in the future? Everything is gone!”