Gunmen abduct six Lagos pupils three days after writing school

Gunmen took advantage of security lapses around creeks in Igbonla , Epe , on Thursday to abduct six pupils of Igbonla Model College , Epe , Lagos.

This came seven months after four pupils and two members of staff of the college were kidnapped in October 2016 .

It was learnt that the gunmen gained entry into the school premises around 6 am on Thursday through the creek at the back of the college.

They were said to have pulled down the school fence and headed for the boys’ hostel , seizing 10 Senior Secondary School pupils .

Our correspondent was told that four of the pupils were later released at the waterside by the assailants after profiling their parents ’ details .

They escaped with the remaining six pupils , identified as Peter Jonah, Isiaq Rahmon, Adebayo George , Judah Agbausi, Pelumi Philips and Farouq Yusuf .

PUNCH Metro learnt that the gunmen had shot into the air around 8 pm on Wednesday while the pupils were having a prep , but went back after policemen and soldiers fired back .

They struck after the operatives had left the school in the dawn .

A Senior Secondary School 2 pupil , who gave his name only as Daniel , said he was having his bath when the gunmen stormed the premises .

He said , “ A friend saw two of them through the window and rushed to tell me that kidnappers had come again . Immediately we raised the alarm, they entered into our hostel , broke the doors and started dragged some pupils out . I hid in the bathroom .”

Another pupil , who did not want his name in print , said , the gunmen took their time to carry out the operation .

“ Two of them broke down our doors and told us to lie down . They didn ’ t use masks and one of them wore a police uniform . They asked if we had phones, but we said no. After picking some pupils , they packed some of our belongings, including sandals. Isiaq (Rahmon) resisted following them until they slapped him .

“ While we were doing our homeworks on Wednesday , they shot into the air , but our teachers told us not to panic . They left because policemen and military men were on the ground , ” he added .

A Junior Secondary School 2 pupil , who was ill and admitted to the school ’ s sickbay said , “ When they came , they were shooting . I jumped from my sickbed and hid under the bed . Everybody was scared . ”

Our correspondent observed as parents thronged the school to pick their children , ignoring the school authorities ’ assurance that the pupils were safe .

Some parents of the abducted pupils were inconsolable as they broke down in tears .

Some parents at the school Photo : Afeez Hanafi

One of them , Maruf Rahmon, said he was at work when his wife , Ikamat , called him that Isiaq had been abducted .

He said , “ I have three children here ; Isiaq is one of them . The school authorities had a meeting with us this afternoon (Thursday ). We were told at the meeting that the kidnappers had written the school three days ago that they were coming. But they didn ’ t inform parents . I would have come to pick my children . ”

Distraught Ikamat appealed to the government to ensure the release of the pupils on time .

Another affected parent, Isiaq Yusuf , said , “ I am sad . Faruq (Yusuf ) is in SSS 1 . I want to see my son . The school authorities are telling us to be patient , but a child is not a goat .”

Mrs. Riskat Odunukan , whose child , Jubril – a SSS 1 pupil – was freed by the kidnapper , decried the poor security in the college .

She lamented that the school had not implemented any of the security measures recommended by parents after the October 2016 incident.

Riskat said , “ There should be total demolition and reconstruction of the fence and it should be high . Bushes in the school ’s surroundings should be cleared and there should be a police post around the creeks with Armoured Personnel Carriers .

“ Jubril said those kidnappers asked him about his parents ’ details and he told them that his father was late . He said they also asked if he knew my phone number , but he said no and they asked him to go .

“ The school did not call us ; we read the news on the parents ’ platform . I thought I was daydreaming. I called some teachers to confirm , but their lines did not go through .

“ When the last year incident happened , we advised the school to mount Closed Circuit Television Cameras and clear the bushes. Nothing has been done . The so called tricycles they bought for the school security men are not being used to patrol the surroundings . The kidnappers capitalised on those lapses . ”

Our correspondent gathered that a child , who told the kidnappers that his father was a pilot , was among those taken away.

“ The kidnappers came when military men guarding the school had gone . They took 10 pupils , but released four after profiling them . I think they took away those whose parents are rich , ” another parent , Alhaja Amirat Alamorieda , said .

A driver and resident of the community, who spoke on condition of anonymity , said the abdutors had been on the waterways since Monday .

The school authorities , including the permanent secretary in the state ’ s Ministry of Education , declined comments on the incident when approached by our correspondent .

However , the member of the House of Assembly representing Epe Constituency II , Mr . Segun Olulade , said the government would ensure the release of the pupils , adding that the school would be shut till Monday .

“ The government is making efforts in terms of security . The incident is unfortunate . Parents who want to take their children home are allowed because of their emotional state . There is a mid- term break on Thursday and Friday. So, the school will resume by Monday , ” he added .

Security men were the only people on the school premises as of 6 pm when our correspondent left the college .

The Lagos State Police Command in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous – Cole , said rescue operations had commenced .

The statement read , “ Today (Thursday ), at about 5 am , kidnappers gained entrance into Igbonla Model School and abducted six pupils . Investigation and rescue operation have commenced with the visit to the affected school by a police team , led by the Commissioner of Police , Lagos State .

“ From the visit , it was found that the criminal elements used the Imeru / Iji waterways to access the swampy forest bordering the school and bore a hole on a part of the school fence to gain entrance . ”

Meanwhile , the representative of the Lagos East Senatorial District , Senator Gbenga Ashafa , decried the kidnap in a statement .

“ I am aware that the Lagos State Government, ably led by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode , is working with security agencies to ensure that the students are recovered safely in record time.

“ I urge the residents of Epe and the staff and students of Lagos State Model Secondary School in Igbonla , to remain security conscious while assisting the security agencies with relevant information that will assist in the recovery effort . I also urge the parents of the other students who are currently in school not to panic , ” the statement read in part .

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