■Demand balance of N40m ransom
By CHIOMA IGBOKWE
It’s now 23 days since six students were abducted from Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe by gunmen suspected to be militants, who are now threatening to kill them if their parents fail to pay the balance of N40million ransom.
The gunmen who stormed the school in the early hours of Thursday, May 25 were alleged to have collected N10million jointly contributed by parents with a promise to release the students.
The parents who were anxiously awaiting the return of their children however got a rude shock when the kidnappers backtracked as soon as they collected the N10m Friday last week. Rather than release the students as promised, Saturday Sun learnt that they sent a text message to one of the parents threatening to kill their children if the balance of N40m was not paid by Thursday.
Saturday Sun had last week reported that the militants had accepted the sum of N10million offered them by the parents with the promise to release them same day.
In an unedited text message to one of the parents, the militants said: “Mr man, Our message is dat inform ur orther u people should look 4 our balance. B4 any discausion by next wk Thursday gather the balance or else u people will cry…” (Mr man, our message is that you should inform other parents to look for our balance. Before any further discussion by next week Thursday, get our balance or else you people will cry…).
It was gathered that the militants who initially demanded for N400million ransom had reduced it to N50million. They are now expecting the parents to raise the balance of N40million before the students will be released.
Meanwhile, Saturday Sun learnt that the militants have moved the students to Efire creeks located at Lagos- Ogun boundary and have equally devised means to entertain the students who are restless.
“They have started teaching the children how to swim and shoot. The students are all healthy and since they are boys, it is easy for them to adapt. They are grooming them on how to become radicals”, a security source involved in gathering intelligence on the kidnappers told Saturday Sun.
According to a police source, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris who is excited about the arrest of notorious kidnapper popularly known as Evans has ordered the Lagos state command to intensify efforts to rescue the students.
He was said to have placed a bounty on the head of the current militant commander popularly known as ‘America’.
“If those militants are wise they will make do of the money they have collected so far and flee because the heat is now on them. So far, all the notorious kidnappers who were declared wanted by the IGP have been arrested and theirs will not be different.”
One of their teachers who spoke to Saturday Sun correspondent on phone lamented that they find it hard to believe that despite the peaceful protest by parents of the students, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has refused to intervene. “These militants are mean, although they are aware that the parents cannot afford what they are demanding, yet they refused to release the children. It is obvious that their main concern is to get the attention of government who appears not to be interested.
“If we are not careful, those boys will join the list of missing persons just like the Chibok girls. Since Governor Ambode is not interested in the welfare of these children, we are calling on the acting president, Yemi Osinbajo to come to our rescue. ”
The state police spokesman, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole said that the command is hopeful that the students will soon be released.