Gender and Social Protection Minister, Cynthia Morrison, says there are strong indications that the three Takoradi young ladies reported kidnapped since last year are still in Ghana.
The Minister said although human trafficking has not been ruled out in the disappearance of the girls, there is a strong likelihood that the Nigerian kidnap syndicate believed to be keeping them has not taken them out of the country.
“We don’t think that the girls have been sent out of the country. They are still here in Ghana but the Nigerian High Commission is also talking to his colleagues out there,” Cynthia Morrison said Monday evening on PM Express, a current affairs programme on MultiTV.
The Gender and Social Protection Minister a meeting on Monday with the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana in a bid to discuss ways to find the three young ladies also provided important leads.
According to the Minister, the key suspect in the kidnapping saga, Samuel Udoetuk Wills, a Nigerian being held by police, had a fruitful chat with the High Commissioner.
She said she could not share to the public details of the meeting between the High Commissioner and the suspect, but they will help with efforts to find the girls.
Pressure has been mounting on the police and other state agencies to find three young ladies since the #Bringbackourtaadigirls kicked in.
The girls – from separate families – were taken from various locations in Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis of the Western Region since last year and nothing has been heard about their whereabouts.
Priscilla Blessing Bentum, 21, was the first to be taken in August 2018. The student left home for choir practice but never returned. Her worried father reported her disappearance to the police 24 hours later. It is now known that she was abducted at Kansaworodo, a suburb of Takoradi, an oil-rich town.
Four months later, Ruth Love Quayeson also disappeared. The 18-year-old took a cab ride from her home in Diabene to the Butumagyedu Junction and never returned.
Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie, 15, was last seen on December 21, 2018. She told her younger siblings she was taking a walk to a nearby town, Nkroful and since then no one has heard from her.
The parents and other residents who have lost their children through similar means on January 4, staged a protest in the town demanding action from the police whose lackadaisical approach to the issue, they believe, is the reason their children remain missing.
While residents say seven teenage girls have been kidnapped, police refute this claim and say only three girls have been reported kidnapped.
‘Abandon’ the girls
Speaking on PM Express on Monday evening, Madam Morrison said it is likely that the progress being made by security agencies could force the kidnap syndicate to abandon the girls to prevent being caught.
“What I am thinking is that they can abandon the girls and run. That is what I am thinking…because it will be unwise to harm them…I don’t think they will harm them.
“I am praying that they abandon them where the girls can locate an access road or something. It shouldn’t be somewhere that maybe the girls cannot escape…I pray that God will touch their hearts and they wouldn’t do anything silly” she said.
Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.