By Olasunkanmi Akoni
lagos—After 27 days in captivity, anxiety is mounting over the welfare of the six Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, kidnapped students. They were abducted within the school premises by gunmen suspected to be militants on Wednesday May 24 from their hostel.
The kidnappers originally demanded for N400 million ransom which has since been reduced to N50 million for the release of the pupils which is yet to be met.
At press time, the pupils were yet to regain their freedom while security agencies are said to be on their trail.
Consequently, this has led to uncertainty among colleagues and parents of victims who live in fear over the state of health of the pupils.
Amid wailing and tears, 14 days after the abduction, fear stricken parents of victims had stormed the office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to express their concern over the delay in the rescue of their children from the kidnappers’ den and demanded for their immediate rescue.
The parents who besieged the office in the early hours said the kidnappers told them that four of their children were sick and they would henceforth, not negotiate with the parents or have any conversation with their children, insisting that they wanted to negotiate with the government only.
The mothers, who could not control their emotions, wept profusely in the open, urging Ambode to act urgently to get their children released without further delay.
Speaking under anonymity, a woman cried aloud with all strength, 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 immediate government’s intervention.
“I want my son back. I sent my son to the school because there was no money. If I had the money they are demanding for, would I have sent my son to that school.?”
Another parent in anguish, Mrs. Agbaosi, whose son Judah, is among those kidnapped, wailed: “We are the one 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 the N10 million we have raised, but they rejected it.”
Speaking with newsmen, spokesperson of the parents, Mr. Dapo Adesega, lamented, “Our children have been in captivity of the kidnappers for 14 days and government has not deemed it fit to communicate with them.
“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 woild not 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 them 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.