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One family’s desperate search for missing son

A distraught father of a University of Nairobi (UoN) student who has been missing since April last year has appealed to his son to return home or contact the family.

The father, John Oduor Ng’onga, a former Telkom employee, told Nairobi News that he has never heard from or received any information from his son, Nicholas Opiyo Oduor 22, for the past 14 months.

Initially, the family from Aboke in Ukwala, Siaya County, assumed that their son was in college but did not just want to talk to his family.

However, on Wednesday when Mr Ng’onga and his daughter Elizabeth Akoth Oduor visited UoN’s Lower Kabete campus, they received the most devastating news from the administration.

Mr Oduor had not been in college for about 14 months. He had registered for third year courses last year but did not attend any classes. He was supposed to be in his final year.

Records at the college indicated that he was supposed to be in fourth year and had a fee balance of Sh52, 000. There were no details about where he was residing.

Mr Oduor, the third born in a family of five, joined UoN on May 3, 2013 to study Bachelor of Commerce. After several attempts to reach him in vain, the father decided to travel to Nairobi, some 430km away.

QUIET YOUNG MAN

“I just woke up and told my wife that I was travelling to Nairobi. I even forgot to carry extra clothing but had hoped to see my son,” he said.

“Son, if you are safe, talk to your aunt Agnes. Talk your mother and siblings. I had even started planning for your graduation,” he said in Nairobi on Thursday hoping the message would reach the son.

Mr Oduor, registration number D33/2679/2013, last left home in April last year where he had a discussion with his father and left three days later.

The father described him as a quiet and bright man. Mr Oduor sat for his KCPE in 2007 at Kiu River Primary School, Kiambu County and was to join Kiambu High School. However, due to the post-election violence, he was transferred to Ukwala High School where he got a mean grade of ‘A’.

His only trusted friend was a teacher at Got Odima Secondary School in Siaya County.

“I have been praying together with his mother a lot and hope he is fine. He is a very quiet young man who likes reading a lot and always keeps to himself,” the father said.

The family said that whenever Mr Oduor was at home, he would spend most of his time reading in his house or at the Kenya National Library at Ukwala

SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES

On Thursday, the family reported the matter at the Spring Valley Police Station and are expected to report back on Friday. He had a Safaricom and an Airtel line which are no longer in service.

“We believe he is alive and can see his presence on social media. He is not in college and does not communicate with any family member. It is devastating,” the sister said.

On July 1, for example, after the LSK President Isaac Okero, released a statement condemning the killing of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and the taxi driver, Mr Opiyo posted a message on his Facebook page at 3.10pm that read:

“The goons came for Jacob Juma, we did nothing. They have shamelessly gone ahead to kill Lawyer Kimani, Mr Mwendwa and their driver. How much can we take?”

That post, believed to be his, was the last.

The family has in the past made several attempts to trace him in vain. The sister said Mr Oduor reached out to him late last year using a different number but when she tried to initiate conversation via Whatsapp, he went mute for months.

On May 11 at 5.28pm he sent a message to the sister that read: “No problem. Tell everyone that I am okay. Nobody should be worried about me.”

During the May University of Nairobi riots, the sister went to the campus but did not find him. “His phones were not going through and we suspected he had lost the phone,” the sister said.