For the last past years, the family of 35-year-old Dorcas Rogers Ogbologugo have refused to resign to fate over her disappearance, one that has spiralled into further tragedy.The search for her claimed a life of a member of the family, while for two weeks her husband was in a coma, losing his memory afterwards. For this family, nothing is worse than having no clue as to what has befallen their loved one for such a long time.
It has been two years of agony and no news from the police about the recovery of a woman who left her abode in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to visit her husband, Akepiteigha Zikenah, in Bayelsa State only to vanish without a trace along the way.
A native of Ataba in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, Dorcas graduated from the Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, and worked as a teacher in a public school in Port Harcourt, Saturday PUNCH learnt.
One afternoon in November 2014, about one month after her traditional marriage to Zikenah, Dorcas told his brother, Ugem Rogers and her other siblings in Rivers State that he was travelling to Yenagoa to visit her husband.
“Since they got married, my sister had been shuttling between Port Harcourt and Yenagoa, where her husband lives,” Rogers told Saturday PUNCH.
According to him, by nightfall, long after they assumed she would have arrived her husband’s house, they got a call from Zikenah, telling them that he had not heard from his wife.
Rogers said, “Before that time, my other sister’s phone had received about three calls which she missed because she was in a prayer meeting. After her prayers, she discovered that one of the numbers that called was that of Gloria.
“She returned the call and somebody picked. Someone who picked the call told her that Gloria had been involved in an accident and had been taken to the hospital.
“We asked for the name of the hospital, but the person said he would get back to us and that we should not call her line again because the battery of the phone was about to go off.
“A phone number was later sent to us, through which we continued to contact the people. Sometimes, they would pick the call and sometime they would not.
“They kept saying they would get back to us. We pleaded with them to tell us what was going on because she was pregnant and they kept telling us they would get back to us.”
Saturday PUNCH learnt that it became clear to the family at this point that Gloria had fallen victim of kidnappers.
When they contacted the kidnappers again, the family was told that they should not worry and that Gloria would be released soon.
Rogers said, “At a point, when we called, we heard people crying in the background, screaming as if they were being tortured or maltreated.
“There was this particular day we called and someone who sounded like their leader said, ‘Is that the relative of the pregnant woman? Okay, send her out’ and they dropped the call.
For a long time, that was the last time the family heard from the people suspected of holding Gloria.
Communications ceased while the family agonised over what could be happening to her.
The case was reported at the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Rivers State Police Command located at Mini Okoro Police Station.
Rogers said he even had to meet with the acting commissioner of police in the state at the time. Yet, the case lingered without clue as to who kidnapped her.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that Gloria’s line was tracked and then, the police had a break.
Her mobile phone was traced to a young man, who was taken into custody and interrogated.
But the hope of the family was dashed when the police told them that the suspect said he found the phone in a cab and did not seem to know anything.
However, the family’s woe took a horrible turn when Zikenah travelled from Bayelsa in company with his sister’s husband because they had heard that there was a suspect in custody over his wife’s disappearance.
Rogers told our correspondent, “When they left the police station and said they were leaving, I told them they did not have to drive all the way back that night because it was already late. I told them to pass the night with us. But his sister’s husband insisted they could still make the journey.
“They eventually left that night. Before they got to Ahoada, they had a ghastly accident and his sister’s husband died on the spot.
“He (Zikenah) was in coma for over two weeks. When he finally recovered, he had lost his memory. All these issues caused a lot of problem between our family and our in-laws and because of that, there has been a disconnect in communication among us”
The family said they became disillusioned by the efforts of the police to locate Rogers when police investigators in charge of the case asked for money every time.
They believed the police failed to do due diligence when they arrested the suspect who had Gloria’s phone.
Gloria’s brother said before then, the kidnappers had even sent an account number to them through which they were supposed to pay a ransom that would be demanded later.
He said this was shared with the police, who did not seem to have done anything with it.
According to Rogers, rather than ask the family for money for every little thing, they could have got enough information out of the suspect as he believed it was likely the suspect knew more than he told the police.
However, he said when the family had lost confidence in the police, they went back to making contact with the kidnappers, with the hope of placating the men to release her.
Rogers said when they called the number one day, their joy knew no bounds when the kidnappers picked the call and asked for N1m.
He said, “We were told to bring the money to a point in Ubima, Rivers State. But I told my sister who was to take the money there that she could not go alone due to safety concerns.
“So, we went to Bori Camp to get some soldiers to accompany her to the drop point just for safety. The soldiers were in mufti.”
The kidnappers had reportedly marked a spot where the money was supposed to be dropped with leaves.
They told the family that once they dropped the money, they should wait in another location, a short distance away from there and they would find their sister.
But that was never to be.
After waiting for hours, they went to check the spot where the money was dropped only to find out that it had vanished.
Gloria has not been seen since then.
As the family appealed for any information that might lead to the return of Gloria, some individuals are making attempts to scam them with false promises that they were the ones holding Gloria.
But the family have offered reward for any piece of information that could help them locate her.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the pregnancy Gloria was carrying when she disappeared was supposed to be her first child.
“My sister was sound in body and mind when she went missing. But we have not lost hope. We are simply praying to God to bring her back safely, wherever she may be,” Rogers said.
Our correspondent contacted Gloria’s husband on the phone but he neither picked his call nor replied to text messages.
Saturday PUNCH contacted the spokesperson for the Rivers State Police Command, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, on the case and he explained that he did not have updates currently.
He promised to find out the status of the investigation from the appropriate unit of the command and give the official statement on the issue.
However, as of the time of filing this report, he had yet to do so.