For the first time since August 24 when he made a daring flight in the tyre compartment of an Arik Air flight from Benin to Lagos, Daniel Oikhena, saw his mother, Evelyn, at the State headquarters of the Directorate of the State Security Services (DSS).
Daniel, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) I pupil in Benin, Edo State capital, was released from DSS custody yesterday morning to officials of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development.
Mrs. Oikhena was informed of the processes her son would go through and later asked to go to the ministry for further briefing.
It was gathered that the government planned to send Daniel to a correctional facility before being allowed to return to school. Several efforts to see him and his mother failed until information filtered in that Governor Adams Oshiomhole would meet with Daniel at 3:30pm.
Daniel’s celebrity status was tested yesterday as government officials left their offices to catch a glimpse of the stowaway kid.
He rode into the Government House in the same car with the DSS State Director, Bakori Tukur.
Reporters were barred from recording Daniel’s entry as he was taken inside through a back door.
Daniel’s father, Osaigbovo, made a surprise appearance at the Government House shortly after his son and wife were taken inside.
He was not invited to join the meeting.
Osaigbovo said he was a commercial bus driver and that he was told about the scholarship offer by his wife.
The father, who was accompanied by some of his relatives, denied allegations that they showed up because of the scholarship offer.
He said he has been taking care of his children contrary to the uncaring attitude of his wife.
Osaigbovo (44) said he had a problem with his wife to whom he had been married for the past 20 years.
He displayed a photograph of himself and two of his children during a family outing.
“I came to tell the world that I am Daniel’s father. His mother and I had a misunderstanding last year. I did not leave my home. I invited my wife to join me but she said where I was staying was too far and she decided to stay away. It is a lie that I have not been taking care of my four children. We are not divorced.”
On why he has been quiet about his son’s predicament, Osaigbovo said his wife asked him to calm down that she would take care of everything.
“I went with her to the police station but she said I should keep quiet.
“I was shocked when I heard the news. Initially, I thought my son was kidnapped but I thank God he is alive. I am here to make sure my son is really alive. I am not married to another woman. My wife refused to give my number to the DSS when they asked for it .
“My son likes movies. He is quiet and easy going.”
A volunteer group, De RAUFs, which had indicated interest in Daniel’s welfare was at the Government House.
Represented by Yinka Muyiwa, head of its legal team, De RAUFs said it came to Edo State to reaffirm the scholarship it earlier gave the lad to continue his education up to university level.
Muyiwa said: “The boy did not commit any offence and as such should not be detained any longer.
“The boy had to do what he did because the system failed him. There was no crime involved in what he did as far as we are concerned.”