CONFUSION TRAILS YOUNG LADY'S DISAPPEARANCE
In 2005, Mrs Doreen Solomon, a civil servant in Bayelsa State met one Miss Helen Irabor during her studies at the University of Ibadan. Both being members of the Jehovah Witnesses, they struck a chord and became intimate friends. Their relationship was so wonderful that in 2008 after her studies, Mrs Solomon invited Miss Irabor to Yenagoa in Bayelsa State.
Miss Irabor had visited Yenagoa on two previous occasions since then, spending months with her friend without problems until her recent visit.
On Sunday, June 19, this year, having spent over two months already in Yenagoa, Miss Irabor left the house. She has not been seen since then.
The situation is causing pains for the Solomons, and Mrs. Solomon, a senior officer at the HIV department of the Bayelsa State Ministry of Health, is seriously troubled.
Since that fateful evening that her daughter called to inform her in far away Jos, Plateau State that Miss Irabor who had taken permission from her before she travelled had not returned home, Mrs Solomon has been afflicted by bouts of trauma.
She tells her story: 'The missing person is someone I consider as a friend. I met her when I went to pursue my degree at the University of Ibadan. We are family friends. We are so close that when I graduated I promised that she would be coming to visit me in Bayelsa State. And she has been visiting and this is the third time she would visit.
'I had wanted to travel to Jos, Plateau State for a workshop and as Kingdom Witnesses, we usually have our worship in the morning between 8 and 10.
As we were getting ready, she now begged me that she wanted to go and visit our family friend and I agreed for her to go because I consider her an adult who should be given some freedom. But I insisted that it should be after our worship. She was even the one that carried my bag because I was to leave for the airport from our Kingdom Hall. After the worship, I had to see one or two elders to tell them that I would be travelling so that they could keep an eye on my family. By the time I finished, she had gone but I expected her to follow me to the park where I could get transport to the airport. 'When I asked my daughter, she told me she saw her leaving the hall and that she must have gone, since then nobody had seen her.
'At about 7pm, my daughter called me and told me that Sister Helen (that is what we call her) had not returned. Immediately I placed a call to the family friend she was supposed to visit. But they told me she had not come, adding that their daughters that she wanted to come and visit were not even in town.' The reporter learnt that three days before she disappeared, Miss Irabor had exhibited some strange behaviour when she destroyed a phone that was not hers simply because she heard a voice on the other end.
'Three days before she went missing, somebody called and because her sim card was in my daughter's phone, she picked the call. And when the person at the other line asked of Sister Helen, my daughter gave the phone to her. Immediately she heard the voice, she said it was an evil voice and threw away the phone. When my daughter told me, I was surprised and I called her attention to it and she explained that she was trying to protect my daughter from evil people so that they wouldn't have access to her. But I advised that she should have switched off instead of destroying the phone.
I never knew that these were symptoms of some strange behaviour,' Mrs. Solomon said.
After her disappearance, neighbours said they noticed she was looking depressed. Mrs Solomon also said she had to confront her on one occasion when she heard that she used to talk to herself in the night. She explained that her being depressed was understandable given that at her age she had no husband and children. According to her, this was one of the reasons she encouraged her to visit Bayelsa perhaps she would meet someone who would like her and would want to marry her.
Mrs. Solomon said the Irabors, who are from Edo State but lives in Ibadan, have been informed about the incident. She further disclosed that the police as well as the NTA and Radio Bayelsa are duly aware in the frantic search for her. She said she is worried that Miss Irabor who is slim, fair and beautiful could have fallen into wrongs hands that might have lured her into some house to take undue advantage of her.