The Nigeria Police Force has come under fire after its operatives in Akwa Ibom State told the family of a missing lady to wait for 24 hours before action could be taken.
It comes as young Nigerians have initiated the hashtag #FindHinyHumoren as search for Iniubong Umoren, a 26-year-old who a deceitful employer allegedly kidnapped.
A lady on Twitter, @UmohUduak1, said Umoren was a friend of hers. She said her friend went missing while job-hunting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
@UmohUduak1 explained that her friend had gone for an interview at airport road, Uyo and while trying to call her friend, heard some screams, which raised her suspicion.
In a Twitter thread, @UmohUduak1 explained, "Y'all, my friend @HinyHumoren is in trouble and she needs our help. I'm currently in Lagos and I can't help than to put this out there. Earlier today she told me she was going for a job interview at airport road far from her house.
Y'all my friend @HinyHumoren is in trouble and she needs our help.— Happiness Activist (@UmohUduak1) April 29, 2021
I'm currently in Lagos and I can't help than to put this out there.
Earlier today she told me she was going for a job interview at airport road which is quite far from her house. pic.twitter.com/X1YBLUPO7d
"To cut everything short, she sent me a one-second audio record on WhatsApp and I had to call her to know if she wanted to say something to me but immediately I called her, I heard her screaming. Someone, please help her out.
"This was our last chat before she left for the interview. It was immediately I got this 1-second voice note from her that I called her and she has not been taking my calls. Y'all help me out."
A Twitter thread, #FindHinyHumoren has been created to this effect.
According to @UmohUduak1, the family of the missing lady had reported the case to the police but was asked to wait for 24 hours.
On Friday morning, she tweeted, "Her sister (the victim's sister) is in the police station. And they are saying 24hours before making any move."
Her sister is in the police station. And they are saying 24hours before making any moveðð https://t.co/JKWZ6ntOCm— Happiness Activist (@UmohUduak1) April 30, 2021
Nigerians on social media volunteered to help in effecting the return of the missing graduate as many are trending the hashtag. Many have traced the alleged kidnapper's Facebook name, phone number, among others. His accomplices were not also left out.
Social media users have since criticised the Nigerian police for asking the victim's family to wait for another day before making any move.
Ada Bekee on Facebook wrote, "It's heartwarming to see young Nigerians band together to investigate a crime on Twitter...
"While the police were waiting for 24 hours and bank waiting for verification, they were able to unearth the identities of what's beginning to look like a robbery and rape syndicate. They are tracking locations and phone numbers and releasing bank details. I'm so proud!"
A Twitter user, @XerxesEmperor, stated, "@PoliceNG, you're a national organisation on security but you couldn't respond to an urgent life issue. But @UNVolunteers, an international organisation, responded within hours of being asked a question."
Others have helped push for the safe return of the lady.
@Durbarman said, "I'm with the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom. He said the police at Uruan are on top of the case. I also met with the OC Anti-kidnapping while updating the CP. We pray she is found alive."
@Adachizo_ wrote, "This is his LinkedIn account, it says he attended Salem Academy, Abuja. Does anyone know that place, maybe he could have a friend from there and could be traced, his LinkedIn doesn't show enough information.
"Plus, I tried to run an image search with one of his pictures but he seems to always wear shades or a face mask. If there's anyone with an open face picture of him, send it here or run the search too. Hopefully, we find something."
@micodon2k10 posted, "He has a massive digital footprint. Points to him as a shady person. Phone numbers I've retrieved 08127530092, 08032907511, 08060536802, 09075054916 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. He's into real estate, auto sales and poultry."
Frank Ezekiel Akpan, the prime suspect on his Facebook profile, claimed to be a United Nations Volunteer worker.
A Twitter user, @dobbydarkson_92, quipped, "@UNVolunteers on the volunteer record, do you have on your roaster an active volunteer with the name Uduak Frank Akpan or Ezekiel Akpan with Nigeria no 08127530092? Pls kindly help; there is a missing lady attached to this name... Treat as urgent."
Almost immediately, the official handle of the United Nations Volunteers programme replied, "There is no person with that name in our records of serving UN Volunteers. This is very serious information you are reporting, and we hope the relevant authorities have been notified."
Umoren, a fresh graduate of the university, tweeted on Tuesday seeking a job and got many replies.
She wrote, "#AkwaIbomTwitter please I'm really in need of a job, something to do to keep mind and soul together while contributing dutifully to the organisation. My location is Uyo, I'm creative, really good at thinking critically and most importantly, a fast learner. CV available on request."
She was allegedly invited by a young man, Ezekiel Frank Akpan, who is now suspected of kidnapping her as calls to her telephone lines are not connecting.
With the efforts of Nigerians on social media, the prime suspect, Akpan, is said to have been picked up by the police.
The Police Public Relations Officer of Akwa Ibom State, Odiko Macdon, told Punch on Friday that two suspects have been arrested in connection to the disappearance of Humoren.
He said, "The Police Anti-Kidnapping Squad of Akwa Ibom State Command is already investigating this case. Two suspects have been arrested. Further updates will be provided as the investigation progresses."