Kidnapped four pupils and two teachers of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla Epe, were ferried to safety in two speedboats by their abductors on Tuesday, it was learnt yesterday.
The victims – Abu, Emmanuel Okonkwo, Jeremiah Ruth, Isaac Adebisi – Junior School Vice Principal A. O. Oyesola and English teacher Lukman Oyerinde, were dropped off inside a forest where they trekked for over two hours before meeting their relatives.
According to The Nation, they were asked to walk in a line and not look back until they got to the point where family members had waited for over four hours.
The vice principal led the pack and the English teacher was asked to stay at the rear, leaving the pupils in-between. The victims were taken to the Epe General Hospital for check-up. Some of them were diagnosed with typhoid and malaria.
The father of one of the victims said:
“They spent many hours at the hospital and were later moved to a house in Epe where the principal addressed them.
“Two parents went to a designated place in Epe, where the kidnappers directed them to. They were at the place around 6pm and stayed there till about 10pm without any sign of the victims.
“As it was getting late, they said they were scared but had to remain there because that was the kidnappers’ instruction. So, around 10:30pm, they showed up, saying they had trekked for over two hours.
“I received the kidnap news with rude shock and since then, my family has been disorganised. I was not staying in Epe. My wife and I relocated to Epe ever since the bad news broke.
“I thank God when I was called by 10:30pm to inform me that the victims have been released. When I arrived at the school, I saw my son alive.
“I was not afraid that something sinister might happen to them because I have been praying alongside with many other sympathisers and I have the assurance that they would come out alive. God has really done it.
“Let’s not talk of ransom, I did not pay any. I don’t know whether anyone paid. I did not pay. My joy is that my son and others are hale and hearty. I want to thank the state government and the police for the roles they played while the victims were in captivity.”
Ruth’s sister who spoke on condition of anonymity said:
“We suffered hell when we went to pay N1 million for our sick child. The kidnappers after two days of playing pranks with us dropped them off in the bush and gave them a description on how to come out to the road.
“Our joy knew no bounds when we saw our children and their teachers coming out alive. I was deeply involved because our child was described as being ill, but, not as ill as we were made to believe”
Police spokesperson Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent (SP) said they were neither assaulted nor traumatised. She stated that the medical examination carried out on the victims indicated that none of them was molested.
“They were released at about 11pm in the night. Our men from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and other units were on the ground to pick them. We would arrest the perpetrators soon. There is no hiding place for any criminal.”