By Evelyn Usman and Bose Adelaja
Kidnapping of students has never been an issue in Lagos State, until Monday, February 29, 2016, when Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Agunfoye-Lugbusi, Ikorodu, Lagos State, was thrown into darkness following the kidnapping of three female students. Since then, heavy at about 8pm.
Security operatives have intensified the search for the abductors of the girls whose kidnappers were said to have started negotiations with the parents.
Although there was no official statement by the school authorities since the incident occurred, sources gave the names of the kidnapped girls as Olusa Timilehin, Popo-Olaniyan Tofunmi and Akinayo Deborah, all in Senior Secondary School, SSS 11.
Timilehin was said to be the daughter of the Executive Secretary of Lagos State Anglican School Management Board, Venerable Victor Ayo Olusa.
One of the affected parents, simply identified as Wale Akinayo, said one of the girls, Deborah, had a telephone conversation with her mother two hours before the ugly incident. Also, he said the 13 years old girl is the only female among his three children.
The kidnappers, about 15, were said to have gained access to the school through the rear fence and went straight to the School of Science Department where the students were having an evening lesson.
They were said to have announced their presence with gunshots, prompting students and teachers to scamper to safety.
The last Monday incident was said to be the second attempt by kidnappers as a similar incident occurred on January 22, 2016, a day to the schools inter-house sports, but the attempt was foiled by internal security.
A School of Arts student, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the students were busy preparing for their forthcoming examinations when there were sounds of gunshots from the Science class direction. ‘’We were preparing for our examinations when gunshots were heard from the Science section and this threw us into panic but one of the teachers calmed us down saying everything was under control,”one of the students of the school told Sunday Vanguard.
My friend told me it was the sound of crackers but I insisted it was gunshot and, before we knew what was happening, we saw people running helter skelter. What came to my mind was that the internal security was on top of the situation but I was wrong as three female students were kidnapped by the gunmen.”
Another female student, simply identified as Tope, said one of the kidnapped girls was her bosom friend. ‘’I don’t know what to say until the girls are found,’’ she said.
Academic activities were disrupted on Tuesday and Wednesday but the school authorities tried to force the teachers to go back to their duty posts.
As at Friday morning, the kidnappers were said to have reduced the ransom they were demanding to N10m per child and there was apprehension as people were anxious about the whereabouts of the kidnapped students with meetings and prayer sessions ongoing in the school.
Due to the development, a prayer chain has started across the country with the harshtag