Police in Lagos, working in synergy with the Inspector- General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), have arrested three of the militants behind the abduction of six students from Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe.
This came as the House of Representatives yesterday mandated the IG, Ibrahim Idris, to ensure the immediate rescue of the students. According to security sources, the three men were nabbed about 4p.m. on Tuesday by IRT men, who joined in the hunt for the kidnappers on the orders of the IG.
The suspects are Egelu Endurance (25), aka Jubby, a native of Abere town; Stanley Yomi Irabomini (25), aka Powei and Bentel Endurance 24. All of them hail from Ovia South Local Government Area of Edo State. The suspects’ arrest brings to four those in custody in connection with the abduction. Earlier, a village head, Baale, had been arrested for supplying food to the kidnappers in the creek. Policemen swooped on the suspects just as they were stepping out from the creek in Benin.
The suspects confessed to have moved down to Benin to check on their colleagues, who sustained bullets wounds. Last week Thursday, militants infiltrated Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, and abducted six students. Some of the militants on Friday, dressed in camouflage, with red bands tied around their foreheads, engaged the Marine Police in a protracted gun battle. Many of the militants were injured in the gun duel. Apparently, some of the wounded were taken to Benin for treatment.
A source said the suspects confessed that 14 of them were killed during the gun duel with Marine Police. “The suspects said one of their leaders, General Bright, under the command of the overall leader called ‘America’, was killed. They said General Bright was controlling a unit of the militants.
But he was shot dead during the encounter with the police. “The suspects confessed to have participated in various kidnappings of prominent personalities in Lagos and Ogun states, including the abduction of Oniba of Iba, Turkish School kidnapping, Isheri landlords’ kidnapping and the current Epe school children abduction.
The suspects claimed to have gone to Benin to see their injured colleague and relax for a while before going back to the creek,” a police source said. According to the source, two of the suspects were part of those who participated in the Epe abduction, two others in the Turkish School kidnapping while all the three were involved in the Isheri landlords’ abduction. Another source said that serious efforts are on to arrest other gang members and rescue the school children unhurt. The source added: “The police are seriously making progress in the rescue mission.”
Meanwhile, one of the parents of the abducted kids told our correspondent yesterday that the kidnappers called him on Tuesday about 8p.m., telling him to go and quickly raise the N100 million ransom, so that they could free his kid. According to him, even before he could start pleading with them, explaining his financial situation, they snarled: “We’re not going back on the N100 million ransom we demanded.”
The distraught man, who didn’t want his name mentioned, said: “I actually tried to negotiate with them, begging them to reduce the ransom, but they cut off the line. My wife, who was beside me, listening to our conversation, broke down and started weeping. At that point, I became weak myself.
“This morning (yesterday), I called the senior vice principal of the school and related what the kidnappers told me. Unfortunately, he told me that there was nothing he could do. He said he was just an employee under Lagos State government.
“At this point, my family and I are confused; we don’t know what to do anymore or where to run to for help. It is very sad that almost a week now that the innocent children were kidnapped in their school, they are yet to be rescued. Government should come to our aid, because we cannot raise the money the kidnappers are demanding.”
Meanwhile, worried by the delay in the rescue of the students, the House of Representatives yesterday asked Idris to spare no effort in rescuing the victims and put necessary measures in place to prevent reoccurrence. The directive was consequent upon the unanimous adoption of a motion brought by Hon. Tasir Olawale Raji (APC, Lagos).