Gunmen, who kidnapped three students and five staff of the Nigeria Turkish International College at Isheri, Ogun State on Friday, have demanded a ransom of N1.2 billion.
This came as the Inspector- General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, yesterday, disclosed that the police would soon launch a security programme tagged: “Safer Schools Initiatives,” to check kidnapping in schools.
It was learnt yesterday that the kidnappers contacted school management through the phone of one of the victims and demanded the ransom. The victims are three students, two Turkish non-teaching staff and three others.
It was learnt that the two Turkish staff were asked to pay N300 million each, while six others have to pay N100 million each, totalling N1.2 billion.
The gunmen numbering about 20, who were fully armed, stormed the school about 9:30p.m. on Friday, broke the fence and abducted the female students in their hostels along with non-teaching staff.
A security source, however, disclosed that the CCTV camera captured the gunmen. All of them wore face masks while one of them wore skirt, the source added.
One of the female students, who was coming out of her friend’s room, was said to have seen one of the kidnappers and shouted ‘thief’, which attracted the attention of one of the guards who later informed the mobile policemen attached to the school.
“One of the mobile policemen was said to have approached one of the kidnappers stationed at the female hostel. And the kidnappers opened fire on the policeman.
While they engaged each other in shootout, the rest of the abductors marched the students and the staff to the creek near the school and escaped with the victims,” a source said.
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Kayode Aderanti, who went round the school on Saturday, faulted the security of the school.
He said: “I have gone round the school premises; there was no security apparatus in place to check impostors. Nevertheless, we are going to protect the students, that was why we have deployed adequate security to the school, because it is our responsibility to protect the school and the students.”
When our correspondent visited the school yesterday, some parents, who could not make it to the school on Friday and Saturday, were withdrawing their children from the school.
One of the parents, who craved anonymity, said he was in Port Harcourt, Rivers State when she heard about the incident and she could not make it to the school on time.
She said: “The issue of kidnapping in the country is becoming unbearable, government at all levels should act fast to halt the activities of the gunmen.
Some of us who have children in the school were only sending them there because we want the best for them. Where do the kidnappers expect the victim’s parents to get the money from?
“I have also gone round the school and saw where the gunmen came through. Had it been the school management put in place adequate security, because I don’t see guard and three mobile policemen attached to the school to confront and monitor the whole school premises at night, maybe the incident would have been predicted. Government should come to the rescue of the school management.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State has said that security agencies were up to the task to rescue the eight victims.
Amosun spoke in an interview with journalists shortly after inspecting a special parade to commemorate the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, held at the Arcade Ground, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta. Amosun promised that the victims would soon be rescued unhurt.
The governor, who noted that security strategies cannot be revealed in the media, said the government had taken steps to tackle kidnapping and other criminal activities.
He said: “We thank God that our security agencies are up to the task, we have given them the necessary backing and logistics and we have to thank the Federal Government too.
When we have challenges like this, they usually come and support us. I’m sure all hands are on deck and we will get good news soon.”
On the “Safer Schools Initiatives,” the IG said the programme would entail top policemen, including him, collaborating with school authorities and brainstorming with principals.
Revealing that crack teams of policemen were already on the trails of the kidnappers, the IG said the abductors would soon be arrested and the victims rescued.
He recalled that kidnappers, who dared to abduct students from schools in Lagos last year, were arrested and the students rescued.
The IG spoke through his Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Don Awunah. Awunah said: “Already, the IG is looking at what we call the ‘Safer Schools Initiatives.’ Don’t forget that those who kidnapped students in a school in Lagos some time ago were all arrested by the police.
We shall get these ones too. The IG is looking at collaborating with schools and principals. This is why he’s coming up with the ‘Safer Schools Initiatives.’
“Part of the programme would entail police doing a security analysis of the areas where the schools are located. The entry and exit points of the schools would be looked at.
But we are being careful not to make students apprehensive. When students see armed policemen stationed in schools, they may become apprehensive, we don’t want that.
There are other ways. We wouldn’t want them to think or feel the school is under siege. We don’t want to send the wrong message.
A school must be friendly.” Speaking on the influx of dislodged Boko Haram members into different parts of the country, especially Lagos State, the FPRO noted that policemen were already to check such influx and arrest the fleeing terrorists.
He said: “The IG has directed all the intelligence arms of the police to look out for any of these Boko Haram members. And all the tactical teams are working towards that end. We are also working together with the Nigerian Army and Department of State Services (DSS).
It’s an issue of national security. We are working assiduously. We’re sharing intelligence.” Asked if police had arrested any fleeing Boko Haram member in any state since they started fleeing, Awunah said: “When we arrest, we do a lot of investigation and background checks.
We don’t rush into labelling people. We, however, can’t stop immigration of people.” Contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed that the kidnappers have contacted the school management. He said: “We cannot confirmed the ransom demand.We cannot encourage payment of ransom.” – New Telegraph.