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Sunday, 9 October 2016

Kidnapped schoolboy held for ransom said to be seriously ill

One of the school children kidnapped by gunmen at Igbonla Model College, Epe, Lagos is seriously ill.

The kidnappers have contacted the family of the sick victim to pay anything the can and pick the child.

Suspected militants last Thursday stormed the school during Assembly and abducted the Vice Principal, a teacher, and four students of the school.

The kidnappers had demanded for N100 million,but as at Saturday’s evening,they reduced the ransom to N5 million each totalling N30 million.The hoodlums had threatened to kill their captives if the family failed to pay the ransom on or before Wednesday of involve security agencies.

However, a family source of one of the victim’s at about 5.20 am told Daily Sun that “we were contacted that our child is very sick. They said for the heavy downpour, the child is very ill. They said for the child’s sake, they have reduced the ransom to N3.5 million each, but the gave respite to our family. They said we should drop something reasonable and pick our child. They have told us where and how to pay the ransom,but they warned that we must not involve the Police. We are gathering money. We have begged them to give the child drug while we are making efforts to gather the money. Our fear is what is reasonable? When my sister asked what is reasonable,the man switched off his phone.”

Another victim’s family member who also pleaded anonymity said his family has begged with the kidnappers to reduce the from N30 to N4 millon, N1 million each.

The militant as at early hours of Saturday were demanding for a N100 million ransom, but in the evening,they dropped the ransom to N30 million.

Kidnappers believed to be militants last Thursday stormed the assembly ground of the school and abducted the Vice Principal, a Teacher and four students.

A family member of one of the victims, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “The spokesman for the kidnappers has just contacted my sister .He insisted that they were expecting the N30 million ransom on or before Wednesday. My sister was trying to explain to him that times are hard, but he switched off the phone.

“The people may not understand that nobody expected what happened. My sister’s husband has no job. My sister is responsible for her child’s education. As it is, we are rallying for money. We have not been able to raise up to N600,000. It is every man to his own. Those who have N1,000 in the family contributed. We are appealing to the abductors of our children to tamper justice with mercy and reduce the ransom to N1million each. I just heard they have contacted one of us, whose child is sick that the ransom has been reduced to N3.5 million each. It is still on the high side. At least, we can afford N1m. But for N3.5million, it means they want to punish the innocent. The Teachers they are holding are just doing humanitarian jobs. How much is a teacher’s monthly salary? A teacher is just working hand to mouth. The teacher’s day celebration just took place few hours before they were kidnapped. Please, well meaning Nigerians should come to our aid.”

Few hours that the kidnapped abducted their victims ,they started contacting the families of the victims demanding for ransom.

The hoodlums warned that the victims’ families must not divulge their conversation with security agencies.
A victim’s family member who spoke at the weekend on the condition of anonymity said “Spokesman of the kidnappers has just spoke with my sister. The male voice said that a ransom of N5 million each has been placed on their heads. Meaning that the six persons must pay N30 million.
“The male voice warned that the money must be paid before next week’s Wednesday. He warned that failure to pay, one of the victims would be killed and the ransom must be paid as the family members may not know the unlucky one. When my sister demanded to speak with any of captives, the fired a shot and my sister heard the cries of people believed to be that of the victims. The man said, my sister is warned for the last time to meet others and pay the ransom as directed and switched off his phone,” he said.

It was also gathered that the gunmen, numbering about 15, stormed the school premises through Ogbere river in three speed boats.

The kidnappers smashed part of the fence of the College, stormed the schools’ Assembly ground, bundled six persons and went away with them.

Other gunmen allegedly entered the school premises by scaling the fence while the students were still on the assembly ground.

While five of the militants stayed behind in their speed boats, others went into the school premises.

The students were having their prayers at about 7:30 am when the armed men suddenly showed up, threatening to shoot anyone of them who dares to move.

Eye witnesses said two of the gunmen mounted surveillance at the entrance into the school, while eight others headed for the assembly ground where the students were still having their morning prayers.

On hearing the gun shots, the students ran in different directions for safety.

The kidnappers finally whisked away the Vice Principal, a teachers and two students of the school.

Among those abducted is Lukman Oyerinde said to be the elder brother of slain Olaitan Oyerinde, a former aide to Governor Adam Oshiomhole.

“They were about 15 in number and they were well armed. We were at the assembly ground when it happened. Ordinarily,menial workers have access to this part of the compound, but we really did not know what happened and also we did not see the Security men who are usually around,” one of the students said.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who confirmed the report said, that the gunmen arrived the school around 8am.

He said that four persons were abducted by the gunmen, but that efforts were ongoing to rescuing the victims as well as tracking down the suspects.

“Yes, gunmen stormed Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, and abducted two teachers and two students.

“The suspects escaped through the Ogbere river. We have contacted the Ogun State Police Command, the Marine unit of the force as well as naval personnel who have circled the river. Two of the students have since been rescued by our men. We will soon rescue the other victims,” he added.

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