— Enraged parents accuse management of the school of being insensitive to the plight of their children
— The kidnappers give three-day ultimatum for ransom payment; threaten to relocate students
Kidnappers of six Senior Secondary School students of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, in Epe area, have threatened to relocate the abducted students to another creek outside Lagos and Ogun states , if ransom was not paid in three days.
|Worried Parents At The School Premises|
Besides, they have adopted selective negotiation with parents of their victims.
Information gathered that two of the parents were contacted at about 1 am and 3am yesterday, during which they reduced the ransom to N20 million and N15 million respectively for the release of two of the students, after much negotiation.
Passionate plea by one of the parents to pay N2 million Naira fell on deaf ears as the abductor insisted that the affected parent could afford the N20 million ransom charged, owing to the nature of his job.
The second parent as gathered, was not given any opportunity to negotiate as the abductors refused to shift ground.
The last call by the kidnappers to one of the parents was at about 3pm yesterday.
It was learnt that the tone of the caller was harsh, as he claimed that parents of the abducted students had been liaising with security operatives.
According to the parent; “My phone rang at 3pm on the dot. I did not bother to ask who the caller was because he had earlier contacted me. He asked if I had arranged the N20 million ransom.
When I gave him a negative response, he said that I was not serious. He also told me that some of us parents were liaising with security operatives on how to get them and warned that we should desist, in the interest of our children’s safety.
“He also threatened that if they did not get the N20 million in three days, they would be forced to relocate the children from where they were and that by then, the ransom would have increased.
He also told me that they had read different national dailies online on the promise of the state government to ensure the safe return of the children and asked why government was delaying.
When he called earlier at 1am, he told me that they held a meeting and had decided to reduce the ransom for my son’s release, which was initially N80 million, to N20 million. He over heard my wife’s reaction at the mention of N20 million and asked where we were going to get that amount.
His reply was that I could afford it. He said we should go and beg Governor Ambode to assist us.
We eat only noodles – Victim This is just as one of the students disclosed during a privileged telephone conversation with his parents that they were only fed with noodles since they were taken to the kidnappers den.
“At that point, my wife cried and begged to be allowed to speak with our son, to be sure that all was well with him.
He gave the phone to our son and during the brief conversation, he said they were fed with noodles since they arrived the camp. He did not allow us to speak further with him, as he collected the phone from him. From their end we over heard one of them telling our son to tell his parents to get the money.”
We’ve only raised N250,000 – Parent’s relation Relation to one of the parents who simply gave his name as James, said he had been with his brother since the incident. He disclosed that his brother was contacted at about 3am yesterday.
According to him; “I picked the call when the phone rang because my brother is hypertensive. But when the caller heard my voice, he ordered me to give the phone to the father of the victim.
When my brother collected it, he told him that they would collect only N15 million as ransom.
When my brother wanted to talk, the caller said that they would not shift ground from that amount and immediately hung up.
So far, we have been able to raise only N250,000.
Movement of victim before Police arrival Meanwhile, information revealed that the gunfire between the Police and some militants weekend, was at a creek where the students were kept for two days, after they were abducted.
They were said to have moved the students to another camp before the police stormed the first den.
However, some of the militants numbering over 30 as gathered, stationed at the creeks which served as one of their bases, said to be planning another kidnap at an undisclosed location within Ogun state were taken unawares by police operatives comprising those from the Lagos State Police command, Marine Police and the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team.
During the operation , the militants, some of which were suspected to have taken part in the adoption of the six students of Lagos Model college, were said to have been in five speed boats.
In the ensuing gun battle, two of the militants speed boats were sunk, another two were abandoned while about four militants reportedly managed to escape in the third speed boat. Some policemen reportedly also sustained injury.
Police sources hinted that; “Before now, (militants) thought that immediately they take anyone into the creeks, security operatives can not penetrate there. But this time around, we are ready to go for them. The creek we stormed was a swampy area and a border area between Lagos and Ogun states.
Unfortunately, it was not the place the students were kept. But we are still trying to trace the exact camp.
We have the location and we have condoned off all exit routes . As it is now, they can not come out of their hiding. It is possible we will rescue the students before the end of the ultimatum they gave.”
Parents of the abducted students yesterday, took a swipe on management of the school accusing them of being insensitive to the plight of their children.
They complained that they were kept waiting for over two hours at the school for a meeting between them and the management.
They further accused the school of being non nonchalant, saying no concrete decision had been reached towards the release of their children either by the school or state government since the incident occurred.