June 9, 2017

LAGOS SCHOOL KIDNAP: 14 days after; Parents storm Ambode’s office, demand victims’ rescue

LAGOS SCHOOL KIDNAP: 14 days after; Parents storm Ambode’s office, demand victims’ rescue

Governor Ambode of Lagos State

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsuru Olowoopejo

Lagos—Amid wailing and tears, fear stricken parents of kidnapped students of the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, yesterday, besieged the office of  Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to express their  concern over the prolonged delay in the rescue of their children from the kidnappers’ den, 14 days after they were abducted. They demanded for their immediate rescue.

Armed militants stormed the school on Wednesday May 24, and kidnapped six students from the hostel. At press time, the students were yet to be released by the abductors.

The parents who stormed the office in the early hours, said the kidnappers told them that four of their children were now sick and they would henceforth, not negotiate with the parents nor allow them have any conversation with their children, insisting that the abductors want to negotiate with the government only.

The parents who could not hold back their emotions, wept profusely in the open, urging  Ambode to act urgently to get their children released.

Speaking under anonymity, a woman cried aloud, calling on government to rescue her child, Isiaka from the kidnappers’ den immediately.

Also in tears, Mrs. Toyin Philips, mother of Pelumi, a 17-year old kidnapped student, demanded for government’s immediate intervention.

“I want my son back. I sent my son to the school because there was no money. If I had the money they were demanding for, would I have sent my son to that school?” she asked from nobody in particular.

Another parent in anguish, Mrs. Agbaosi, whose son Judah, is among those kidnapped, wailed: “We are the ones negotiating with the kidnappers. The kidnappers said they wanted N100 million. Government, please, don’t let our children die. Let their release be done today.”

Another disturbed parent, Moruf Ramon, whose 19-year old son Isiaka is still being held by the kidnappers corroborated that the kidnappers had refused to negotiate with them any further as what they offered to pay them was small.

“There is no way we can raise such huge ransom of N100 million being demanded by the kidnappers. So far, we parents have offered to give them N10 million that we have raised, but  they rejected it,” he said.

Speaking with newsmen, spokesperson of the parents, Mr. Dapo Adesega, lamented, “Our children have been in captivity  for 14 days and government has not deemed it fit to communicate with us.

“If you don’t communicate with us, how do we know that government cares about our plight. If we had not come here today, we wouldn’t have heard anything from the government.

“Nobody from the government has come to us since the incident occurred two weeks ago, we did not come here with placards because we want government to help us. Please, government should help us. We have been trying to negotiate with the abductors but they rejected our offer because it is too small.

“They said we cannot speak with our children again as four of them are ill. We want government to help us, we are trusting in you. Our kids are not allowed to talk to us again, I took my child to a government school, so the government should help us,” he pleaded.

Meantime, the government’s delegate, led by the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs,  Muslim Folami, who came to listen to the parents, assured them the state would ensure the children were released alive.

Other government officials on the team included: The Special Adviser to the Governor on Community and Communications, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan and the Special Adviser to the Governor on the Environment, Mr. Babatunde Hunpe.

Speaking, Folami said; “Please be calm, government is doing all it can to get the children released alive. Government has been working round the clock to ensure the release of the children and it will happen very soon.”

He expressed regrets that such an episode could occur in a government school.

Responding to parents’ question on how soon the release will take, Folami said he could not tell, but that there was no way government could divulge certain intelligence information.

“Work is going on and soon, your children will be released to you. We cannot give you intelligent report now,” he said.

Bamigbetan also tried to pacify the parents, saying that government knew the pains they were going through and that everything would be done to get the children released very soon, while appealing for calm.