By Evelyn Usman, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Monsur Olowoopejo and Peter Ofili
Sunday Vanguard learnt, yesterday, how gunmen, suspected to be militants, abducted six persons- the Vice Principal, a teacher and four students- at the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, in Eredo Local Council Development Area of Epe, on Thursday.
The militants, numbering over 10, were discovered to have cleared the waterways , about 100 meters to the school, in order to enhance the movement of their speed boats, a week before they struck.
Meanwhile, the kidnappers, it was learnt, yesterday, have demanded N30 ransom for the release of their captives.
Sunday Vanguard observed that the waterways through which the gang struck, flows directly behind the school. A part of the water is used to dredge sand by some youths in the community.
Before the incident, residents said there were obstructions such as water hyacinth, mud and dirts which hampered movement of canoes and speed boats to the school ‘s area.
However, after the incident, it was discovered that the waterways had been cleared.
Sunday Vanguard was also informed that the kidnappers came hours before they struck. They were said to have waited in their speed boats.
A hunter, who lives in the community and gave his name simply as Thompson, took our correspondent to the route through which the kidnappers came.
He explained: “On Wednesday night, we heard noise of engine boats in the river but concluded it was some boys who usually come for oil. There were about seven speed boats with Yamaha engine.
“But on Thursday morning when we heard sounds of gun shots, we ran out and discovered it was kidnappers. But we couldn’t act otherwise because their weapons were more sophisticated.
“You can see ( pointing to the water) that they cleared the route before coming for the attack. This was done a week before they struck but nobody knew. They did not just come that day, it is obvious that they had been in the area for some days”.
Sunday Vanguard, in a related development, gathered that the abductors have demanded N30 million as ransom for the release of the six captives. They reportedly contacted family members of their captives, first, in the early hours of Thursday, during which they assured them of the captives safety. Thereafter, they demanded for an undisclosed figure which was in hundreds of millions.
Bargain between both parties, as learnt, continued until 12 noon yesterday when the kidnappers settled for N30million.
A relative, as learnt, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed this on phone. He added that they were still under strict instruction not to disclose the conversation with security agents.