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31 Jul 2017

How Colleague's Sickness Aborted the Escape Plan of Abducted Lagos College Students

New revelations have shown how sickness foiled the plan to escape by the students who were abducted in a Lagos community.
The released Igbonla Model College students and their parents during a media briefing
at the Round House, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja on Friday, July 28, 2017. 

According to a Vanguard report, more revelations about the 65-day abduction experience of the freed six Senior Secondary School students of Lagos Model College, Igbonla Epe, in their abductors’ den were unveiled yesterday, as one of the students disclosed how they attempted to escape from the den when it became apparent that their captors were not willing to release them quickly.

It was further revealed that the kidnappers had shrines in their camps where they consulted oracles before making calls to demand for ransom.

This is just as some worship centres held a special thanksgiving yesterday,  to thank God for the release of the school children.

Besides, the students who were handed over to their parents after undergoing initial medical examination at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, upon the arrival in Lagos last Friday, are expected to return for another round of routine checks today.

One of them (names withheld) who spoke with Vanguard yesterday disclosed that they planned to escape in their second week in captivity. He stated that it took them two weeks to finalise the plan,  which was supposed to be hatched at night.

But on the fateful day,  one of them fell sick and too weak to join them.

According to him; “On that fateful night, I woke up first before going to wake others up. By this time, we had been taught how to swim by one of us. We took turns to learn whenever we went to bath. The plan was for us to take one of the boats and escape even though we did not know the direction to head to.

“We intended to head towards the direction we came from. But as we were about to embark on the mission, we noticed that one of us was sick and was too weak to walk. I suggested that we should leave all the same but another person said it won’t be nice to leave him behind since we were abducted together. He also suggested that we shelves the escape plan because it would not be easy to carry him along. We decided to carry out the plan whenever he gets well. But there was no other opportunity until we were rescued.“

At this point, his mother collected the phone from him, saying he had spoken enough.

Another student also corroborated the revelation, adding that the sick student must have been used by God to avert what he described as a suicide mission.

The latter said: “We were to take a bush path of close to 20 minutes walk before arriving where the abductors’ boats were berthed. But the illness of one of us was the miracle that saved us because we later discovered that some of the kidnappers used to sleep on the trees from where they look out for intruders.”

The student also narrated how a fisherman who showed the kidnappers the route out of Igbonla on the day of the kidnap was killed.

He said; “On the day we were abducted, the kidnappers missed their way in the bush path they took. They saw a man who directed them to where their boats were waiting. They told the man to escort them to the place. But by the time they sighted their boats, they shot the man three times, killing him on the spot.”

His mother, who took over at this point narrated that her son said they were served with delicacy made of monkey meat during their two days stay at the first den in Ikorodu.

She said: “He told us that their abductors killed two monkeys on the first day of their arrival, with which they prepared food for them. But he rejected it considering our religious background. He said he was given noddles to eat when he refused to eat for two days.”

One of the freed students, who spoke with Vanguard in confidence in Ajakpa community, Ese Odo council area of Ondo state, said their abductors usually left them in the camp and went hunting.

He said they usually came back at times with bush meat and at other times, they would be giving sardines and bread. He further stated that they were well fed while at the third camp in Ondo creek, adding that they never knew how the food was brought to the kidnappers store room.

Continuing, the elated mother, who was heard calling her son to come inside the apartment, said: ”Few days after their abduction, they contacted us to demand for ransom. My son said that their captors had a shrine in the camp where they made consultations before negotiating ransom."

He said that they used to kill animals to appease their gods to guide them and to make them excel in the negotiation for ransom at the end of which they would promise the oracle what to sacrifice to it should the deal succeed.

He said that the kidnappers also performed rituals whenever they were going out of the camp, apparently to avoid being arrested . At such times he said they (students) would be praying silently, nullifying every incantations against them”

Again, another student disclosed that while in the camp, corpses of some kidnappers were brought to the camp.

He said: “While at the camp, they brought bodies of some of their members who they said were killed by security agents who wanted to rescue us. By then, they had already relocated us to another camp. We learned that those they met were manning the camp for another set of victims who were to be kidnapped that night. It was at this point that they became brutal and started beating us.”

The released students are expected at LASUTH today for another round of medical checks. Upon arrival last Friday, they were taken to the hospital on the directive of the Lagos state government before they were handed over to their respective parents.

The test, according to Commissioner, for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, was to ensure that the students regained their previous health status before their abduction in May, 2017.

Speaking on the test, mother of one of the students, Mrs Tawakalitu Ramon, confirmed that her son was officially released to her after medical experts at LASUTH concluded their test, adding that they were asked to report back today.

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