Lagos school kids freed by kidnappers after 65 days

Lagos school kids freed by kidnappers after 65 days
July 29 14:29 2017

The parents of the pupils of the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, who were abducted on May 25, 2017 finally heaved a sigh relief on Friday as they were reunited with their kids.

The pupils – Peter Jonah, Isiaq Rahmon, Adebayo George, Judah Agbausi, Pelumi Philips and Farouq Yusuf – arrived at the Lagos State Deputy Governor’s office in Alausa, Ikeja from Ondo State, where they were released by their captors, around 9 pm.

It was learnt that the kidnappers collected about 37 million naira before the boys were released.

Twenty suspected kidnappers of the pupils were killed in gun duels with security operatives in the events leading to the release of the pupils on Friday.

It was learnt that one civilian volunteer (local vigilante), who fought on the side of the security agents, was also killed, while eight policemen and four other volunteers sustained injuries in the shoot-outs.

The police said one of the members of the kidnap gang, who collected ransom on behalf of the gang, was also arrested.

The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Adebule, who received the children in her office in Alausa, Ikeja on behalf of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, said the state government would use the holiday period to intensify security in public schools before the next term begins.

The children were said to have been dropped at Aboto Creek in the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State by some members of the gang at about 12 pm and moved to the office of the state’s deputy governor.

Adebule received the children in Lagos along with the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, and his deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi.

“I will like to commend the police and other security agencies for ensuring that the children are back. We plan to have comprehensive medical check-up on the children and they will be debriefed in collaboration with other stakeholders.

“We are going back to the drawing board to ensure that all that needs to be done in terms of security before the resumption of schools is done.”

Akeredolu said combined efforts of the South-West governors and security agencies led to the release of the pupils, adding that the role played by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was incisive.

The Commissioner, Lagos State Police Command, Fatai Owoseni, said 20 members of the gang involved in the abduction of the pupils were killed in gun duels with security operatives.

He said two of them were ringleaders identified as Bright Adeniyi and Oniwe Iyelabo, aka America.

He said, “The response to the kidnap was swift as much as possible, which led to curtailing the gang within a specific location. Adeniyi led the abduction of the children. He met his Waterloo along with 16 others shortly after the abduction during a gun duel with security agents.

“America and two others were killed on July 18 when they attempted to invade a marine police post. The suspect that swindled the parents has been arrested.”

Owoseni was however silent on the ransom paid to the kidnappers, saying dwelling on it would glamorise kidnapping. Journalists were also prevented from talking to the pupils.