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20 Jun 2017

Lagos pupils’ abduction: We now count on God, say parents

After 26 days of repeated assurances by the Lagos State Government and the police on the rescue of the six abducted pupils of Lagos State Model Collge, Igbonla, Epe, the victims’ parents say they have no other option but to count on God.
The parents said the assurances did not allay their fears, adding that they hoped that the children would be liberated by divine intervention.

All the parents, who spoke with our correspondent on Monday, said there was no development on the rescue efforts since June 9, when they raised and paid N10m ransom, before the kidnappers demanded additional N40m

This is just as the Lagos State Government on Monday insisted that paying the ransom was not an option it was considering, reiterating its resolve to rely on security agencies to free the pupils.

Our correspondent had reported that some gunmen stormed the school premises at about 6am on Thursday, May 25.

They picked 10 Senior Secondary School pupils and led them to a waterside where their boat was anchored.

After profiling their parents’ details, four pupils were released, while the assailants whisked away the remaining six pupils, identified as Peter Jonah, Isiaq Rahmon, Adebayo George, Judah Agbausi, Pelumi Philips and Farouq Yusuf, in a speedboat.

The kidnappers initially demanded N1bn ransom, but reduced it to N100m for all the children.

The parents had protested at the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s office on Wednesday, June 7, accusing the government of indifference and asking it to facilitate the release of the children.

When PUNCH Metro spoke with the parents on the telephone on Monday, one of them said they had been left to their fate.

“We have not heard from the kidnappers since Sunday, June 11, when they asked us to raise additional N40m ransom. The parents raised the N10m when we didn’t get any response from the government. The Lagos State Government is not talking to us,” the parent said.

Another parent said he was frustrated, noting that his fear about the safety of the children had heightened.

He said, “I am confused. I don’t know what to say. The safety and freedom of the children are important and we are looking up to God.”

Another parent said, “This is one of our test periods, but we have handed over everything to God. The only power now is prayer and we believe God will bring our children back to us safely. The government is there, the parents are there. Nobody can do anything, except God.”

When asked whether the government was considering paying the ransom after almost one month of security effort without the expected result, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said, “Lagos State Government is unrelenting in its effort to ensure that security forces rescue the pupils and return them to their parents safely.

“The government shares in the pain of the parents. The police and other security agencies are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the pupils are rescued. Please, be assured that a structure that got the most notorious kidnapper (Evans) arrested is able to do the same in this instance.”

Meanwhile, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 2, which supervises the Lagos and Ogun states police commands, Adamu Ibrahim, said the children would be freed very soon.

Ibrahim spoke after he met with Ambode on Monday at the Lagos House, Ikeja, adding that the police were working tirelessly to free the pupils.

He said, “Very soon, you will hear good news on the issue. We are working seriously on it. At this stage, I will not want to disclose too much because these are security issues, but all I want to say is that people should give us a chance and very soon, they will hear good news.”

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